Giants' Kenny Golladay likely to return against Texans

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Kenny Golladay is going to get another chance to show the New York Giants they didn't waste a lot of money signing him as a free agent last year.

Golladay expects to return to the lineup Sunday when the Giants (6-2) host the Houston Texans (1-6-1).

The 29-year-old Golladay has missed the past four games while dealing with a knee injury and he is hoping to add a spark to an injury-riddled receiving group.

“That’s really my main goal, is to hit the ground running,” Golladay said Wednesday. “I don’t want to come in the game and act like I lost a step as far as playbook-wise, like I’m not mentally prepared. So, even when I wasn’t playing, I was making sure I was mentally prepared the entire time as if I was playing. That’s really my main goal, when I do get in there it’s not like a falloff.”

While that's the hope, Golladay has not provided the Giants much since signing a four-year, $72 million contract in the spring of 2021. He had 37 catches for 521 yards and no touchdowns in 14 games in a disappointing first season.

This year has been even more disappointing. The sixth-year pro has two catches for 22 yards and both came in the season-opening win at Tennessee.

Those aren't the numbers former general manager Dave Gettleman envisioned. His hope was Golladay was going to return to his 2019 form, when he caught 11 TDs in the second of two 1,000-yard plus seasons.

It hasn't happened.

Golladay remains confident. He said his only goals are to show the coaches what he can do in practice and to play for his teammates.

“At the end of the day, I’m a competitor, I’m a winner,” he said. "Even if I haven’t been a part of a team that’s 6-2, my mindset is still a dog mentality.”

Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka said Golladay has always worked hard.

“I know he’s gotten a little dinged up, so he worked his tail off to get ready for this week,” Kafka said. "We’re happy that he’s available.”

The Giants need him. Sterling Shepard was lost early in the season to an ACL injury and 2021 first-round pick Kadarius Toney was traded to Kansas City.

Rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger also is out after needing surgery recently for a fractured left eye socket. Jacksonville linebacker Devin Lloyd poked him in the eye attempting to make a tackle after a catch on Oct. 23.

Bellinger said Wednesday he expects to return this season after the scary incident. He said he still has some double vision, but the doctors said that was not surprising.

“When it first happened, it kept getting really puffy and it was kind of numb around the eye, so I was afraid that it was the actual eye," Bellinger said. "I was afraid at first but once I got to the hospital and the doctor looked at the eye and said the actual eye was OK, I calmed down a little bit.”

The fourth-round draft pick had 16 catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a TD.

Wide receiver and punt returner Richie James is no longer in the concussion protocol and may play Sunday.

Special teams coach Thomas McGaughey didn't say whether James would return punts. He lost two fumbles on returns against Seattle. Cornerbacks Darnay Holmes and Adoree Jackson and practice squad receiver Kalil Pimpleton have been fielding punts in practice with James.

McGaughey took the blame for the fumbles, saying he didn't notice James was wearing a long-sleeve cotton T-shirt under his uniform against Seattle. He said the cotton causes the ball to slip.

When asked what material James could have used, McGaughey answered quick.

“Skin,” he said. “When you carry the ball, you want that ball firmly up against your body and don’t want anything to make it slide or move while you’re carrying it.”

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Tom Canavan, The Associated Press