- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Last February, Walter Thurmond and Robert Ayers finished their season as Super Bowl opponents.

Five months later, they are on the same defensive unit and will play their home games at MetLife Stadium, where Thurmond’s Seattle Seahawks trounced Ayers and the Denver Broncos 43-8 in the Super Bowl.

On Wednesday, cornerback Thurmond and defensive end Ayers continued to get acquainted with their new teammates as the Giants conducted their second day of a three-day minicamp.

“I’m getting more comfortable, but I’ve felt comfortable since Day One,” said Thurmond, the fifth-year player from Oregon. “There’s a great group of guys in this room and they’ve been very welcoming. It was an easy transition.”

Thurmond, who started three games for the Super Bowl champs and made 33 tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown, said the Giants defensive scheme is more intricate and precise than Seattle’s.

“I’m learning a little more stuff than we did in Seattle,” said Thurmond, who missed most of the 2011 and 2012 seasons due to injuries. “We were very simple.

“Here, we’re mixing coverages and having exotic defenses. I like it, because it gives me a lot more freedom.”

Ayers, who was born in nearby Jersey City before moving as a teenager to South Carolina, started three games for the Broncos last season. He made 29 tackles and had six sacks. The six-year veteran didn’t plan on returning home to New Jersey as a free agent.

“I didn’t have too many expectations,” said Ayers, who was issued uniform No. 91, the number worn by former Giants standout Justin Tuck. “It’s just where the ball landed. I had a good opportunity to come here and it was just a way of coming home.”

Ayers is also getting used to his new surroundings.

“It is home,” Ayers said. “I’m part of this team now and proud of it. I’m learning how to do things their way. I’m adjusting well. The guys on this team have accepted me well. I’m finding my way. It’s getting better every day.”

Ayers and Thurmond are two of 20 free agents the Giants signed, including cornerback Dominque Rogers-Cromartie, who was also a member of the Broncos.

“I know the Super Bowl left a sour taste in their mouths,” Thurmond said. “There has been a little bit of talking going on between us about it, but it’s just a little bit. They are great teammates and I look forward to playing with them.

“The more we’re out there, sharing our blood and our sweat, the bond gets deeper. We’re like a band of brothers.”

Thurmond knows he can make an impact with the Giants.

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