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Dwayne Harris, Giants have Cowboys on their minds heading into camp

WEST CALDWELL, N.J. -- Soon enough Dwayne Harris and the rest of his New York Giants teammates will be living out of a hotel and spending most of their time at the Quest Diagnostic Training Center. They'll be in the midst of another training camp with the Dallas Cowboys, once again, on their minds.

The Giants report to training camp on Thursday. They open the season on Sept. 10 against the division-rival Cowboys.

In the leadup, Harris is one of the Giants getting in some last-minute work. He was on the field Tuesday at James Caldwell High School squeezing in a workout with trainer Brian Martin. This is how he approaches his final few free days of the summer.

"Right now, at this point, just trying to keep my body in shape," Harris said. "I'm not really doing a lot of physical, hard work. I'm just trying to keep my cardio up and doing a little running here or there, not too much rigorous speed work like sprints or something like that. Get out and do a couple of tempos just to keep my wind up and keep me in shape."

Harris is not alone in his approach. Defensive tackle Damon Harrison and tight end Will Tye were out running hills with Martin on Monday. Cornerback Michael Hunter was on the field at home this week working with his trainer while wide receiver Sterling Shepard and defensive tackle Jay Bromley were in the gym fine-tuning for camp throughout the week, according to their social media accounts.

This is just a sample of some of the Giants players. Everyone takes a different approach to these final few days before summer break ends. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has worked tirelessly this offseason, but his trainer Jamal Liggin believes in using this time before training camp as a taper down phase to his offseason program. His clients -- which include a long list of NFL players including Beckham, Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis and others -- reduce their workloads to keep them fresh and ready for camp.

Harris, 29, is a veteran who likes to keep moving, even if it's not as strenuous as his early-summer workouts. This is a big season after the Giants forced him to rework his contract this offseason.

The former Cowboy is looking forward to the upcoming campaign, beginning with the opener against his former team. He's heard all the talk back and forth between the Giants and Cowboys, and sees the rivalry growing. It's natural after Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott said the Cowboys would win the NFC East and safety Landon Collins followed with a strong retort.

"I commented right underneath his picture. I said, 'I highly doubt that,'" Collins said at his Pro Camp. "They do not control the [NFC] East. It's over with. We're going to have a run for it. I mean, they're not going to win, I can tell you that much. We're definitely going to take over."

The Giants swept the Cowboys last season but Dallas (13-3) won the division. It has left some room for squabbling between the two sides as they enter this season with high expectations.

The Cowboys are the favorites to win the division by most sports books. The Giants are not far behind.

"[The division title and head-to-head] both are very important. We want to win the division and we also want to win both matchups because that helps win the division," Harris said. "But fortunately we beat them twice. A lot of people say they're better than us but when you put [last year] on paper they do look better than us. But when you get on the field the better team always wins."

Again they’ll be able to figure that out Week 1 when the teams meet in the opener for the third consecutive season. Harris views that as a positive.

"It definitely adds a little bit of juice because I know what I'm playing for, I know who I'm playing against that first game," Harris said. "So for me I'm getting my mind right visualizing my opponent. I know who that is going to be."

With training camp and the season on the horizon, he has his former team, the Cowboys, on his mind. It's only natural. That's part of what keeps him training right up until the start of camp.