Veteran middle linebacker Jon Beason was carted off the field Thursday during the team's OTA at Quest Diagnostics Training Center with a foot injury. Head coach Tom Coughlin said Beason "was running across the field and felt something in the bottom of his foot."
Coughlin and the Giants have their fingers crossed that Beason, the signal-caller on the defense, will be OK. Here is Coughlin's response when asked how important Beason is to the Giants.
"Very. Very important because of the nature of the player, the man, his attitude, what he brings to the table, his leadership skills. Very important," Coughlin said.
Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com reported that Beason was undergoing tests this afternoon at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Mark Herzlich would be an option for the Giants at middle linebacker to replace Beason. Herzlich has six starts over his first three seasons in the NFL, but has been unable to secure the middle linebacker job the past two years. In 2012 he lost a training camp competition with Chase Blackburn. Last season he lost to job to Dan Connor, took over when Connor was injured and was then replaced when the Giants acquired Beason.
Veteran linebacker Jameel McClain, in his first season with the Giants, also has some experience in the middle. Most of that came, however, in a 3-4 defense. Fifth-round pick Devon Kennard has been learning both the middle and outside linebacker spots. Kennard and McClain reportedly split first-team reps after Beason's injury. Another option for the Giants if they have to replace Beason is to move Spencer Paysinger there. Paysinger did some of the signal-calling for the Giants last season prior to Beason's arrival.
Beason, of course, has a history of injuries. Achilles, knee and shoulder injuries limited him to just five games in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He signed a three-year, $16.8-million deal with the Giants during the offseason.
NOTE: Coughlin also said running back Peyton Hillis is out with a muscle pull.