Giants cornerback Deon Grant understands Tashard Choice's position.

Like Choice, Grant is a Georgia native, and Grant understands what a big deal Michael Vick is to a young player like Choice.

He understands why Choice, a Cowboys running back, asked Vick for an autograph on the field after the Eagles beat the Cowboys.

But Grant would never humble himself so.

"T-Choice is my man. My little homie from Atlanta, and all that," Grant said, his face serious . . . and then he laughed. "He messed up on that one."

Like most players, fans and press, Grant was incredulous.

"What is that? I'm not asking for an autograph for anybody I'm playing against," Grant said.

Choice fails to see Grant's point. This week, he defended his actions. He claimed the autograph was for his nephew. He issued an absurd challenge to anyone who doubted his competitiveness.

Sure, Grant has signatures from some of the game's greats. Usually, he said, he used a member of his team's equipment staff to secure the autographs.

He never got them right after he lost to them; never while still in his pads and cleats. Losing, he said, stings too much:

"An autograph? That's the last thing on my mind." *

-Marcus Hayes