Mark Herzlich has had an amazing NFL career. An undrafted free agent, he made the New York Giants roster in 2011. That’s not the unusual part. UDFAs make NFL rosters every year. What’s amazing is that eight years later, Herzlich is still a Giant.
He has never been a full-time starter. He is a special teams guy, a fill-in linebacker, a strong presence in the locker room. And he has made a career of that. Every year I do roster predictions, and most years I leave Herzlich’s name off my final prediction. He, and the Giants, don’t listen to me. He just keeps hanging on.
This is what he told me last offseason about his lengthy career with the Giants:
“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.”
After his 2017 season was derailed by an injury, Herzlich is back again. Will he stick around? Let’s look at that question as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants 90-man roster.
2017 season in review
Spent the season on injured reserve after suffering a stinger early in training camp.
There is, once again, a path for Herzlich to make the 53-man roster. It begins with his specialty, special teams. With new special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and quality special teams players like Michael Thomas and Cody Latimer added to the team, the emphasis on those units is obvious. Herzlich has always been a good coverage guy. The Giants also need depth behind inside linebackers Alec Ogletree and B.J. Goodson, and Herzlich has been running with the second group throughout the spring.
So, we might still see Herzlich in a Giants uniform when the 2018 season opens. I, for one, just can’t bet against the guy any longer.