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Giants rookie cornerback Corey Ballentine took another step forward in his recovery from a gun shot wound by participating in Thursday's OTA (organized team activity) practice in East Rutherford.Ballentine, the Giants' sixth-round draft pick, participated in position drills with the team. He was only on the field for post-practice rookie period on Monday. Thursday's practice was closed to the media, and the Giants will return to the practice field Tuesday.The Division II cornerback from Washburn University continues to recover following the April 28 shooting that claimed the life of his close friend and college teammate Dwane Simmons and wounded Ballentine.The shooting occurred outside of an off-campus party in Topeka, Kansas, just hours after he was selected by the Giants in the NFL Draft.
Ballentine was encouraged by the Giants to skip rookie camp earlier this month to recover from his injury – he was shot "in the butt," coach Pat Shurmur said – and take his time in dealing with any emotional stress lingering from the incident, not to mention mourning the loss of his friend."He is making progress," Shurmur said Monday of Ballentine, who signed his rookie contract last week. It's likely he will be brought along on a limited basis for the remainder of spring workouts. "I think it is still going to be a little bit of time, but he is getting better. This is something that he is going to make a full recovery from, it is just going to take a little time."
Ballentine’s selection at 180th overall was the highest in Washburn history.Ballentine totaled 186 tackles (113 solo), 10 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and five interceptions across his career from 2015-18. He also blocked four kicks (second best in school history) and averaged 24.81 yards per kickoff return, while setting Washburn track and field records in the indoor 60- and 200-meter races as well as the outdoor 100 and 200. He was named the small college defensive player of the year in 2018.
The Giants sent senior vice president of medical services Ronnie Barnes and special assistant to the general manager Jessie Armstead to Simmons' funeral three weeks ago to show support and be there for all involved, Ballentine in particular. “The organization has done a really good job of helping him through the process. It’s gonna be a process for him," Giants defensive backs coach Everett Withers said of Ballentine. "But we’re excited about getting him. When you watch him on tape, you don’t see a Division II player. You see a talented football player that can run, jump, cover.”Email: stapleton@northjersey.com

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