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90-man roster: Can Giants safety Nat Berhe stay healthy?

Safety hasn’t been able to do that the past two seasons

NFL: Preaseason-New England Patriots at New York Giants
Nat Berhe loves to deliver bone-crushing hits like this one on Julian Edelman.
William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Can safety Nat Berhe stay healthy and contribute to the New York Giants in 2017? That, really, is a good question. Let’s examine it as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the team’s 90-man roster.

2016 Season in Review

Last season was really a second straight missed opportunity for Berhe, a 2014 fifth-round pick. A starting safety job was his for the taking in 2015, but Berhe suffered a calf injury during OTAs, never got healthy and missed the entire season. Last season an injury to Darian Thompson put Berhe in the starting lineup Week 3 against the Washington Redskins. A concussion then sidelined him for four games. A second concussion cost him the final five games of the season.

2017 Season Outlook

Concussions are no joke, and the two Berhe suffered last season cloud his future. Especially since “The Missile” is a hard hitter who prides himself on throwing his body into opposing ball carriers with reckless abandon, attempting to deliver hits that will be remembered. Asked about that reckless style last year after his first concussion, Berhe said he wouldn’t change:

"Is that going to change the way I tackle? Probably not," the 25-year-old Berhe said after going through a limited practice without any contact on Wednesday. And when it was mentioned that his style of play might put him at greater risk for future concussions, he said, "Yeah, man, but I mean nobody wants to live forever. It's fun to watch. And if you're fun to watch, who knows? Maybe they'll throw the bank at you one day, you know what I mean?"

Even if Berhe is healthy, what role he would play beyond special teams is unclear. Landon Collins is an entrenched star at one safety. Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams would both likely be ahead of Berhe on the safety depth chart at this point, as well.