On set: Giants RB Derrick Ward

Derrick Ward is making the rounds before the opening of free agency. The Giants’ running back had a busy day, heading down to Orange County to appear on Jim Rome is Burning, before coming to the NFL Network studios to appear on Total Access to talk about free agency and his Web site, dward34.com.

Ward made news last night when he hired a new agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Ward said that Rosenhaus’ pedigree of getting running backs into the right situation was a big motivator in the switch. Rosenhaus also has been known to make his clients a lot of money, too. That probably didn’t hurt, either.

Ward rushed for a career-high 1,025 yards in 2008, as he and Brandon Jacobs became the first teammates to each rush for over 1,000 in a season since Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack did it for the Browns in 1985.

Now Ward looks to become his own man with his own team. He doesn’t necessarily want to be a solo act, but he has a starter’s mentality.

“I would like to be in the same situation that Brandon Jacobs is in, where he is the starter,” Ward said. “He’s the go-to guy, but you have people to help you out. It’s been proven that one person can’t carry the whole load. Look what happened to Clinton Portis this year. He was an MVP candidate for the first eight games of the season, and then the last eight games, he fell off the face of the Earth. I want to be the starter and the main focus. But I know that help would also help my career and extend it.

“I know I’m ready to take over a starting role. I’m ready to contribute and put up big numbers.”

Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce also was on set and doesn’t want to see Ward go. However, with Jacobs receiving the franchise tag, Ward’s departure seems almost certain. Ward wouldn’t divulge where he would like to play in 2009, but some of the teams believed to be in the running include the Cardinals, Bengals and Browns.

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