Every successful team needs a handful of veteran reserves who can capably fill in when needed. Can offensive lineman John Greco fill that role for the New York Giants?
Let’s look at the 33-year-old Greco as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.
2017 season in review
After suffering a season-ending Lisfranc injury with the Cleveland Browns in 2016, Greco could have called it a career after nine NFL seasons.
Greco, though, still wanted to know if he could play. This is what he told me last fall after winding up with the Giants:
“I was like, let me see where training camp goes, let me see where this thing (his foot) is at. I played a long time and I was like if my foot’s not feeling right I’m not going to force it. With that being said, I played through the preseason, felt like I was playing well, felt good, I felt healthy. Cleveland decided to go a different route,” Greco said in the Giants’ locker room on Thursday.
“I was back home and I was like, man, I went through all that work and I feel good, so I was like I want to still prove to myself that I can play. For whatever reasons I was home for a few weeks, got an opportunity to catch on a team. Ultimately, through those various steps and things that happened I’m here. I’m just happy to be on a team. I did miss it, I love the everyday environment in the NFL.”
The Browns cut him at the end of the preseason, he hooked on with the San Francisco 49ers for a few weeks but never played, got cut again and wound up with the injury-ravaged, struggling Giants in mid-November.
Greco, now 33, ended up playing reasonably well for the Giants in limited duty as he registered 105 offensive snaps in six games as a backup guard.
Greco’s late-season performance, his professional locker room demeanor, the Giants need for offensive line depth, and Greco’s past relationship with coach Pat Shurmur from time together with the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns led to him getting another opportunity with the Giants.
Greco has gotten some first-team reps at right guard during the spring, but Patrick Omameh and Will Hernandez are the likely starters at those spots. Provided he remains healthy, Greco has a good chance to earn one of the spots as a reserve offensive lineman.