The Giants are a buoyant bunch despite their preseason woes. But perhaps no one on the squad is as optimistic as Jon Beason, simply because he’s actually allowed on the field again.
The veteran linebacker has been able to practice this week, in anticipation of being active for Big Blue’s Monday night opener in Detroit, and is looking forward to finally getting back on the field for real.
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“I feel pretty good and just happy to be back out there, working for one common goal with my teammates and doing what I love. It feels good to get my feet wet again,” said Beason, who practiced on a limited basis Thursday for the first time since he suffered a ligament tear and a small fracture to the sesamoid in his foot during a June 12 workout.
The eight-year veteran with boundless energy reiterated his desire since the injury was to make it back for the Lions game, noting how hard it was to sit on the sidelines while his teammates grunted and sweated through training camp.
He had to laugh at himself, though, at how pesky he must’ve been with the doctors while he rehabbed his foot, adding once he got the OK from the trainers and began testing his foot, he knew he was on track.
“When we finally got the orthotics down, that’s when I knew [I’d be ready for Monday]. And the [foot/ankle] taping and knowing how we were going to tape it, that’s when I knew,” said Beason. “The other key were knowing which cleats are going to be best for me. I went out and changed direction and it didn’t bother me. I knew right then that I would be there in Detroit.”
Almost anyone on the outside had Beason counted out for the Lions game, but now that he’s almost all the way back, they’re certainly appreciative of the linebacker’s work ethic and resiliency.
“We need him. Everybody knows we need him, so it’s good to have him back out there,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
As of right now, the current depth chart for the starting linebackers includes rookie Devon Kennard, veteran fill-in Jameel McClain and Jacquian Williams. Naturally, if Beason is on the active 45-man gameday roster, he’ll resume his role in the middle, likely shifting McClain to the strongside spot — which means Kennard may be the odd-man out. The hard-hitting rookie, however, will be a big part of the game plan as a substitute.
It’s easy to see why Beason is so revered in the Giants’ locker room, considering his sizeable impact on the team following his midseason trade from Carolina last October.
When the Giants traded for Beason, the team was 0-5 and looking like a lost unit on the defensive side of the ball. But once he adjusted to the Giants’ way and was responsible for the play calls and audibles, the defense went from below average to one of the hottest units in the league.
Head coach Tom Coughlin and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell vouch for Beason’s impact, as he may already be the second-most revered defensive player behind safety Antrel Rolle.
“His presence,” Coughlin said when asked about Beason’s most important asset. “It’s the upbeat, the love to play, fly around a million miles per hour [and] encouraging other people to do the same or better. … Just how hard he plays [because] he shows great example in what he does.”
“He just brings a presence that we’ve been missing,” said Cullen Jenkins. “He’s a natural leader, an intense person and it’s great to have him back.”
Beason appreciates all the verbal bouquets, but admitted it won’t do him much good once the Lions’ offense takes the field, because they’ll naturally be looking to exploit his injured foot in pass coverage.
“Obviously, you’re out here and want to gauge where I am mentally and physically, what my role is going to be — whether it’s big or small,” said Beason. “I’m just happy to be back on the field and taking advantage of the reps they are giving me again. ... I’m just trying to prove why I need to be out there.”
Big Blue notes ...
»Guard Geoff Schwartz will miss half of the regular season after being placed on designated-to-return injured reserve.
»The first Giants’ regular season injury list included Beason (foot), wideout Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring), offensive linemen James Brewer (back), Charles Brown (shoulder) and Brandon Mosley (back) and defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (ankle).
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.