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Pro daze

Every day, the same message is coming out of Baltimore.

Maybe starting running back Willis McGahee is sick, or hurt, but it seems that rookie Ray Rice has taken more repetitions with the first team during the last two days than McGahee.

Rice is taking some ribbing from a former conference foe.

Nakamura also inherited a sense of humor from his family.

Prior to playing against Rutgers and future Ravens rookie running back Ray Rice, his brother had a T-shirt emblazoned with the words: "Nakamura Eats Rice."

Nakamura wound up tackling Rice on a key fourth down.

"Being Japanese, we eat rice," Nakamura said. "We've joked about it a couple of times."

Quinn Pitcock's unexpected retirement might create an opportunity or two in Indianapolis.

Pitcock, 24, has not commented publicly, and numerous attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

He was expected to play a significant role in the tackle rotation behind Ed Johnson and Keyunta Dawson, who have worked as the starters in training camp. Raheem Brock, a 27-game starter at tackle the past two seasons, has been moved to left end in the base defense and apparently will remain there even with Pitcock's decision.

"We've got a lot of young guys on the (defensive) line that can play and are going to help us this year,'' Brock said.

The Colts could use someone to follow in Johnson's footsteps. He was an undrafted rookie in 2007 who was inserted into the starting lineup in training camp when a knee injury sidelined veteran Anthony "Booger'' McFarland. Johnson wound up starting all 17 games and anchoring a run defense that ranked No. 15 in the league, giving up 106.9 yards per game.

The cast of prospects ranges from Darrell Reid, who primarily has been a special teams player, to Eric Foster, an undrafted rookie out of Rutgers.

"I've definitely got an opportunity to play and show what I've got and what I bring to the table,'' Foster said.

Ronnie Girault wants to make a name for himself in Hempstead.

Former Rutgers safety Ron Girault is working to make the Jets' 53-man roster, having been signed yesterday. He was peppered after practice at Hofstra University.

On if he remembers speaking to the Jets before the draft:

I had a visit here before the draft. They showed me around the facility. I spoke with the staff and the defensive back coach and the head coach. We had a good conversation. They let me know their thoughts on me and the situation that they were in.

On why he was released in Kansas City:

Everyone knows this is a business. Things did not work out numbers-wise, so they had to release me.

On how he handled being released by the Chiefs:

Anytime you get let go, it's a little disappointing. I didn't get my head down or anything like that. I knew there would be other opportunities to come and when the opportunity came I would just have to take it full stride and that's what I did.

On how he feels about the opportunity to play for the Jets:

I feel great about (being a Jet). Being from this area and being able to have the opportunity to play here - I'm just going to do everything I can to stay. I'm going to work hard and take all the coaching tips.

On if he grew up a Jets fan:

Not necessarily my favorite team, but every time the Jets played I would root for them - being a New York guy. I was always in favor of them. It's a good feeling.

On being instrumental in building up the Rutgers football program:

That's a great feeling. Even being recruited by Rutgers. Coach (Greg) Schiano let us know that we were going to be the beginning, the foundation of something great and the program was going to be on the rise. A lot of the guys in that first recruiting class had faith in what he was saying and believed in him. They made the commitment and stepped forward to actually go there. We all worked hard at Rutgers to bring it to where it is now. The guys stepping in behind us are doing a great job and continuing the success.

On if he feels like his has always had to prove himself during his football career:

You're always in a position to prove yourself. You always have to prove that you're big enough or fast enough or strong enough or tough enough. I just see that as another thing of motivation to keep me going, get the job done, work hard and just prove what you can do.

On if he feels like he can emerge from training camp with a spot on the 53-man roster:

They give you an opportunity here. It's all about the player. The player has to make the most of it. You have to work hard. You have to pick up on things quick and take all the coaching tips - take the positive criticisms and things like that.

The Star-Ledger has a little more.

Before last April's draft, former Rutgers safety Ron Girault met with Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Eric Mangini and left a lasting impression.

So when the Chiefs waived Girault on July 27, the Jets pounced on him, signing him the next day.

"We had liked him," Mangini said. "I liked the person and I liked the time we spent with him. I thought he would be a great guy to give a chance to. He sort of built up his career in college and those guys usually have a way of finding a home."

The 5-10, 204-pound Girault, who signed with the Chiefs May 3, was a four-year starter at Rutgers. He finished with 271 tackles, 10 interceptions, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks in 45 career games.

Now that NFL training camp rosters must be at 80 players, some players are waived before they even get an opportunity because of injuries at other positions.

"Everybody knows this is a business," Girault said. "Things didn't work out numbers-wise, so they had to release me. Anytime you get let go it's a little disappointing. I didn't get my head down or anything like that. I knew there would be other opportunities."

Girault, a Montvale product, isn't exactly in an impossible situation. After starters Kerry Rhodes and Eric Smith and top reserve Abram Elam, it's wide open.

"I feel great about (the opportunity)," Girault said. "Being from this area and being able to have the opportunity to play here, I'm just going to do everything I can to stay. I'm going to work hard and take all the coaching tips."

Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden singled out Jeremy Zuttah yesterday for praise.

"I can't say how pleased I am with him. Again, we don't want to credit these offensive linemen too much publicly, but [I do] for what he's doing, coming in here out of Rutgers where he played the tackle position. One day you'll watch him [and] he's playing left and right guard, the next day he comes out here he's playing mostly at center. All these positions are foreign to him, he's learning a new offense and I really like him a lot."