Jon Beason is done as a reliable, productive, week-in and week-out NFL player. That opinion tops the list when it comes to "Five things I think I think" about the New York Giants this week.
Beason said all the right things over the weekend after the latest in his long line of injuries, a knee sprain suffered while defending a pass Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He said that "for sure" he would be able to play Sept. 13 when the Giants open the regular season against the Dallas Cowboys.
"I totally believe that I can and I have my mind made up. I'll do everything I can humanly possible to make sure that that happens," Beason said. "And I don't want just straight on Sunday — I want to get back in time for preparation for that [Dallas] game.
"Rehab is going to start right now."
Brave words. Maybe even defiant. Exactly, though, what you would expect from a proud, competitive player like Beason who still believes in his ability.
Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin, though, might have been more realistic when he refused to put a timetable on Beason's return.
"These things are all different," Coughlin said. "Without some doctor or expert telling me what to think in terms of the amount of time out I'm not gonna speculate.
"All these things end up being week-to-week. Sometimes in these cases it's longer than you think."
The Giants acquired Beason in a desperation midseason trade in 2013, and he gave them 11 pretty good, healthy games. That convinced the Giants to gamble on the injury-plagued Beason, handing him a three-year, $17 million contract with $6.03 million guaranteed.
It has been money badly spent to this point. Truth is, there is no indication it will ever be anything but money badly spent.
Foot and toe injuries limited Beason, 30, to four games last season, and the reality is Beason probably should not have been on the field for those. He wasn't healthy even when he was playing, and only his pride and toughness got him on the field. The Giants, largely because they had nowhere else to turn for linebacker leadership and no one capable of playing middle linebacker like the 2013 version of Beason (apologies, Jameel McClain, but that's the reality) cross their fingers and hoped they would get something like that 2013 Beason. They are still crossing their fingers and hoping.
I have no idea how long this injury will sideline the veteran linebacker. He might heal quickly, get some preseason practice time and be ready for Week 1 against the Cowboys. He might be out longer than that. Even Beason doesn't really know, saying "knee sprains are weird."
Thing is, even if Beason heals from this injury you have to wonder what will come next. You can be almost certain something will come along. History tells us so.
Beason looks phenomenal in a t-shirt. He is quite possibly the most sculpted player in the Giants locker room, probably with competition from Andre Williams, Steve Weatherford, Owamagbe Odighizuwa and perhaps one or two others. Thing is, his legs are a mess.
Beason has played only 22 of 64 potential regular-season games since 2011. He has had an Achilles tendon tear, a knee injury and last season the foot and toe issues. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. His legs no longer appear capable of taking the pounding of being an NFL player.
Perhaps Beason will prove me wrong. Perhaps he will get on the field, stay on the field, play well and lead the Giants' defense back to prominence. Giants fans certainly have to hope so.
Thing is, even if Beason gets on the field we are no longer certain he is athletic enough to do his job at a high level. Smart enough, tough enough, savvy enough certainly. Athletic enough? Once upon a time, Beason an All-Pro middle linebacker and among the most athletic sideline-to-sideline defenders in the game. Did you see Allen Robinson of Jacksonville catch a pass in front of Beason Saturday night and literally run away from him, turning what should have been an 8 to 10-yard gain into a 36-yard play. Beason can be exposed in the open field because the wheels just aren't what they used to be. And you know NFL teams will try to do exactly that.
Beason is a guy who does things right. He gets it. He wants to win. He wants to show teammates how to be a pro. I hope I'm wrong and that Beason has at least one more quality season left in those fragile legs.
I don't think I'm going to be.
Here are four other "things I think I think." I will hit these quickly.
- I think I would really like to see the Giants find ways to keep linebacker Uani Unga and backup fullback Nikita Whitlock on the 53-man roster. Both are impressive, high-energy guys who can help an NFL team.
- I think the Jets got themselves a guy who could turn into an excellent player when they signed ex-Giant tight end Matt LaCosse on Monday. It's too bad the Giants were unable to keep him.
- I think I'm looking forward to seeing what alignment the Giants use on the right side of the offensive line when practice opens Tuesday. I think I am expecting Geoff Schwartz at right guard and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle.
- I think it will bother me a great deal if wide receivers Victor Cruz (calf) and Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis) don't get some serious practice time this week.