Never mind the wild stories of years past: the feather earrings, the Playboy bunny tattoos, the pet piranhas. Chuck Faucette is now officially mellow.

His free-spirited days are behind him, Faucette insists. He now is at training camp with the New York Giants in Pleasantville, N.Y., where the ex-Maryland linebacker says things like "my playbook is my pillow."

He acknowledges that he "started with a feather {earring} and worked my way down," to his currently unadorned ear. And as for the wild times -- cruising around in one of two Corvettes, fringes from his leather vest flapping away, yelling profanities and reeking of confidence -- that was all "a long time ago," he said.

There are reasons for this. First, he's a 10th-round draft pick trying to crack the roster of the linebacker-rich Super Bowl champions. Second, at age 23, he's married and has a 2 1/2-month-old daughter, Jenna.

"It's marriage that's done it," he said. "I used to be a rebel, but now I'm a conservative married man, just like everybody else."

In fact, one of Faucette's biggest off-the-field activities now is phoning home to wife Carolyn. He does it every evening. "I miss my family. I miss my little daughter," he said. "My phone bill is probably sky high, but I don't care."

When he talks to Carolyn, he doesn't talk much about football. "When we talk, I'm just glad to talk to her," he said. "I ask her how she's doing. It's nice to talk to someone besides teammates. There's a lot more to talk about than football." They also don't talk much about Faucette's chances with the Giants. "I don't want to get her worried," he said. "She has other things to worry about."

But Faucette, a two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference pick, admits he worries a bit himself when the "Turk" -- the staff member who informs players they have been released -- walks in the football dormitory. "You can't help but be nervous," he said. "You don't want that guy knocking on your door."

To prevent that from happening, Faucette said he's been trying to attract attention on special teams. "Right now, I'm on all the special teams, and I'm actually getting a fair shot," he said. "I try to go in and do something every time. I've been hustling, and I try not to make any mistakes. If I do, I work on it."

Apparently, the Giants' coaches have noticed. "We'll give him a chance in there," defensive coordinator Bill Belichick said. "He's always working hard and is always paying attention. I think he's a little more intense than some of the other rookie players."

"He really wants to know exactly what you want him to do," said Johnny Parker, the team's strength coach. "He's confident, but willing to learn." Off the field, Parker said he knows nothing of a wild and crazy Faucette -- no stories or antics. But he said that can't hurt Faucette's chances of fitting the Giants mold.

"We're not a very offbeat team," Parker said. "We're pretty much a blue-collar bunch. {Faucette} is a very tough player, and that's the kind of player {head coach} Bill Parcells is looking for."

Faucette proved himself to Parker during the summer, leaving his home in Willingboro, N.J., a Philadelphia suburb, every day for nine weeks to work out at Giants Stadium. He left at 5:30 in the morning, drove about 1 1/2 hours to East Rutherford, N.J. and worked out for about three hours. "Among the rookie linebackers, he was a star, conditioning and strength-wise," Parker said. "He's really a tough customer. He worked hard, and really pushed himself."

Faucette spends time during and after practice working with the veterans. Among the most helpful, Faucette said, have been Pepper Johnson, Harry Carson and Robbie Jones.

The vets have been easy on Faucette off the field, avoiding many of the standard pranks for rookies, although Faucette said they have frequently forced him to sing at team meals. But that's fine with Faucette, who just might have a little of that old brash confidence left.

"He's confident, but not cocky," Parker said. "He seemed to say, 'Hey, I belong here. I'll do whatever it takes to stay here.' Most rookies are pretty bashful and shy about that."