Canadian has last laugh

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:27 AM ET

PHOENIX -- Kevin Abrams still can hear the laughter from the high school guidance counsellor at Toronto's Crescent School.

"I remember sitting in the office and having him laughing me out of the room," the North York native said yesterday at the New York Giants team hotel.

"The first thing I told him was I wanted to play in the NFL. Once he got over that bit of humour, I told him if I can't play, I'd like to work in the NFL. I think he laughed harder."

Who is laughing now?

As the assistant general manager and salary cap whiz for the Giants, Abrams is part of the NFC champion's entourage here for Super Bowl XLII against the New England Patriots.

A trusted confidant of general manager Jerry Rees and head coach Tom Coughlin, Abrams is in his seventh year with the Giants and has expanded his role beyond crunching numbers and making sure they fit into the NFL's salary cap.

"I'm involved in more personnel evaluation and I work a lot with pro and college scouts evaluating players," Abrams said. "I still have some learning to do but it has been great to broaden my horizons that way."

Not bad for a guy who tried out for and didn't make the University of Western Ontario Mustangs.

"I think I was about the 13th quarterback out of 12 so that didn't last long," he said with a chuckle.

The desire to stay in sports never left his system, however, and after some advice from a family friend -- Blue Jays executive Howard Starkman -- Abrams enrolled in the graduate sports administration program at Ohio University.

Internships there gave him experience at a variety of teams and leagues and eventually landed him gainful employment in the NFL head office. From there, a switch to the G-men was a natural transition when they needed a cap expert.

Adding some player evaluation duties has allowed Abrams to gain appreciation for the nuances of putting together a championship roster as the Giants have done.

"I don't get into "my guys", they all wear Giant uniforms," Abrams said. "We make our decisions together. Some players I will be more involved with and some less. It starts with the GM and the head coach and goes down. I may or may not have scouted the player but it's very much a collaborative effort."

As for being at the Super Bowl, it has been quite a kick for Abrams' friends and family back home.

"It's funny every step of the way in the playoffs, the number of text messages within eight seconds after the final gun goes off grows each week," Abrams said. "It's been fun."


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