Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Boothe Is on Center Stage Now

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Boothe Is on Center Stage Now

Article excerpt

LANDOVER, Md. - Kevin Boothe is as comfortable at left guard as he is at center, which is where the Giants' veteran offensive lineman will start in tonight's prime-time game against the Redskins at FedEx Field.

"Really the only difference between the two positions," Boothe said, "I have to block with one arm instead of two when the ball is snapped."

The versatile Boothe has fit up front with the Giants since he was claimed off waivers six seasons ago. His sudden and unexpected departure from Oakland serves as a unforgettable reminder of how nothing is promised in the NFL, even after winning a pair of Super Bowls with the team that has become his home.

"This is a high-performance business, no matter where you are in the standings," said Boothe, who started 14 games as a rookie with the Raiders before Lane Kiffin took over as coach and decided to cut him the following summer.

Boothe has not taken anything for granted as a professional ever since, adding: "If you don't play well, you're going to struggle to find work."

Boothe has started 37 consecutive games, including playoffs, and that streak is third-longest on the Giants behind Eli Manning (157) and Antrel Rolle (63).

In the Giants' 24-21 loss to the Cowboys, Boothe received the highest grade of his career (4.2) -- second-best at center in the NFL and tops in the NFC for Week 12, according to the analytic website ProFootballFocus.com.

That achievement is even more impressive because Boothe moved from his customary left guard spot when center Jim Cordle left the game with a knee injury and the Giants continued to excel on the ground, rushing for 202 yards on 6.7 yards per carry.

The Giants (4-7) will use their sixth starting offensive line configuration at Washington (3-8). Boothe, left tackle Will Beatty and rookie right tackle Justin Pugh have started every game, while right guard David Diehl has been in the lineup since Pro Bowler Chris Snee underwent hip surgery and landed on injured reserve. …

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