EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Will Beatty watched the New York Giants mini-camp practice on Wednesday with a large wrap around his chest to protect his surgically-repaired torn pectoral muscle. He watched rookie first-round pick Ereck Flowers play the position he started 46 straight games at. He itched to get back to work, and tried not to wonder what the future holds for him.
"My goal and my mentality is to get back out there and to still prove to myself that I can still do this. Still prove to the team and thanking them for still giving me the opportunity and expecting to be back. You never know how it is going to go. You have to be thankful for every year you get to play in this league and for this organization," Beatty said. "That is more of my mindset (and) that is more of my goal, not losing my spot or what is going on for when I get back. Let me be able to contribute to this and let me get healthy so they can use me and I can show them I am building on last season."
The 30-year-old Beatty is entering his seventh year with the Giants. He is coming off an excellent 2014 season, but he knows the upcoming season is a critical one for him. He is entering the fourth year of a five-ear, $35 million contract and knows the Giants used the ninth overall pick in the draft on a player they believe has a long-term future at Beatty's position.
Beatty admits that he wonders "how can I be here and not get lost in the crowd or get put on the backburner?"
"You know how things can change and things go in and out. If I focus on that, the uncertainties of the game, you are just rolling dice," Beatty said. "The things I know are that the doctors said I can come back 100 percent, so that means I can come back and how I finished last year, I can build on that because of this diagnosis so I can use that as a positive to get back and work hard to make sure that I am still in that position and when my time is called, to get out there on the field I can perform and still do that."
Beatty was injured lifting weights with the team during an early portion of the offseason program.
"It was a freak accident," Beatty said. "I was lifting heavy, but it wasn't my max. You go through it and you have all the questions running through your mind, ‘Why, what happened, could I have done anything different to prevent it?' Then it's like, ‘I've got to go through this whole surgery process again.' I just don't really know what happened. I know that I have to go into the recovery looking toward the future rather than the past."
Beatty has been down the injury road before. He missed seven games in 2010 with a broken foot, suffered a detached retina six games into the 2011 season and broke his leg during the final game of 2013. He knows the drill.
"You still have got to let biology take its course and have it attach properly before you start moving it," Beatty said. "The doctor said, ‘You came in right after it happened, we got the surgery done quick and (there is) a 100 percent recovery if you follow the first four to six weeks and you take care of it and you do what you need to do. You can get back on the field like nothing happened.'
"Now you have a goal. Everybody else is working on their things, but I have to work on this. You are always competing against somebody, and right now it is like it's competing against myself. (I'm) trying to get healthy, trying to return, trying to beat that return date in a healthy manner without injuring myself more doing something that could harm me. It is a lot of stuff going through your head, but it is a blessing that each time I have gotten that, ‘You can come back and still be 100 percent.' You hold on to the good things and you move forward with that."
Beatty is likely headed to the PUP list, meaning he would have until Week 8 of the season to get ready before the Giants would be faced with putting him on IR.
"They haven't said anything to how they are going to do that. It is more of I have the opportunity to come back and they are letting me know that early, so it's like ‘don't sit around and don't mope around, you have got to get back on your horse and we have got to get back not only as fast as possible but also healthy enough and strong so you can be a factor in the game.' Not just ‘oh, I have recovered,' " Beatty said. "So the fact that they still want me is a good thing and it is much easier to live with the positive things than the negatives."
For now, all Beatty can do is wait, watch and wonder what the future holds.