Mark Herzlich has had an unlikely run with the New York Giants. Six seasons after making the team as an undrafted free agent he is still here, without ever being more than an occasional fill-in on defense who made most of his contributions on special teams.
Herzlich understands just how unique his career has been.
“I do find it remarkable. It’s definitely been a blessing to be able to stay with one club and to play for this long. It really comes down to maintaining the same work ethic and same fundamental habits that I started my rookie year,” he told me recently.
“Sometimes when you know the playbook better or you know an organization or feel more comfortable you kind of relax. What I’ve tried to do is treat every single day like it’s my first day. I’m always trying to make the team every single year, there’s never a locked roster spot for me. I really treat every day like a day that I want to be my best, and treat every mistake like a learning opportunity and note the game is what it is for me. I don’t put these crazy expectations on play time or things that I can’t control. I just put crazy expectations on the thing I can control, and that helps me maintain my habits.”
Can Herzlich continue his remarkable run with the Giants for a seventh season? Let’s talk about that as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.
2016 Season In Review
Herzlich played mostly on special teams for the Giants last season. In 2016, he played 87.6 percent of the team’s special teams snaps, more than anyone else on the roster. NFL stats, though, show that Herzlich did not register a single tackle in 397 special teams snaps. He played only 14 defensive snaps.
2017 Season Outlook
Herzlich has been working at tight end as well as linebacker, trying to add to his value. Each time he is asked about Herzlich, coach Ben McAdoo downplays the significance of his work at tight end. Still, though, should an emergency arise at that position it would be nice to have a guy who could step in.
As for linebacker, Herzlich once again looks like veteran depth at that spot.
I keep expecting the Giants to move on from Herzlich, and he keeps fighting his way on to the 53-man roster. I’m not going to bet against him doing it again.