FOXBORO - As the offseason lockout lingered, Zak DeOssie's handicap on the golf course plummeted.

"My index is down to 10.6," the fifth-year New York Giants long-snapper relayed after last night's exhibition-closing win over the New England Patriots.

If he wasn't busy honing his short game, DeOssie often found himself in negotiations with the NFL owners.

DeOssie, whose dad Steve also was a player rep, was tickled with the intellectual tag from his mates.

"As a Brown guy, everyone assumed I was smart, and I will run with that as long as I can," laughed DeOssie, a Phillips Academy grad from North Andover. "Seriously, representing my teammates is something I wanted to do, and I am doing the best I can at it. As one of my team's representatives, I totally immersed myself in what was going on."

Eventually, DeOssie and the players came to an agreement with the owners.

"There were certain benchmarks here and there that we missed," admitted DeOssie. "It got more daunting as time went on. But when push came to shove, we assumed we'd be back."

And the players were.

Now, with negotiations in the rear-view mirror, DeOssie can look forward to more important facets of his life, like extending his career and prepping for his April wedding.

"Every year is a new year, and you never get complacent," said DeOssie, who is in the middle year of a three-year contract.

"As a long snapper, you're not on the field too much, so it mitigates the injury risk. That's a good thing, I can stick around for a long time as long as I snap well enough."

Much of his career has been storybook. First, there was the Super Bowl championship back in his rookie year.

And there's also the fact that he's following in his dad's footsteps at the position, which Pats coach Bill Belichick pointed out this week.

"I heard about that. My dad called me and said, 'Get on the Internet! Check out ESPN!' He was so pumped and excited, as was I," said Zak. "He'd always talk about it, how he was a pioneer of the long snapper. He's been saying it for years, but I finally got some proof to back it up."

A fourth-round pick in 2007, Zak would love to get home a bit more to see his mom, Diana, but it's the only drawback in what has been an impressive career. And DeOssie, 27, knows it.

"I love this organization," said the two-time Pro Bowl long snapper. "It's one of the best if not the best in the league. I'm very fortunate to be where I am today."

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