Connor Barwin spent four seasons as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, on the other side of a rivalry with the New York Giants that is one of the NFL’s fiercest.
Thursday, on his second day as a Giant and as he prepared for his first full practice, Barwin addressed media with a long-sleeve Giants shirt on and said the weirdness of being on the other side is already gone.
“I think it’s already over. It was a little weird yesterday, but that’s already over,” Barwin said. “We had a walk through today, we’re practicing, we’re focused on football so it’s all about football. That stuff you forget about right away.”
Barwin did, though admit that “I’m very happy I get to play ‘em [the Eagles] twice.”
Barwin said that he has been talking to the Giants, as well as other teams, for a while.
“Thought it was the right fit for me, good opportunity for me. Good defense for me. I know Shurm [Pat Shurmur], I know [linebackers coach] Bill McGovern,” said Barwin, who was with both in Philly.
Barwin has 55.5 sacks in nine seasons and will be expected to bolster a Giants’ pass rush that — before his signing — looked in need of help.
“Any team wants three pass rushers. For me I felt there was an opportunity [with the Giants] for me to be one of those three guys,” Barwin said.
In his 10th NFL season, Barwin knows what the Giants will ask of him:
“Rush the passer, be a veteran, be a leader, be available to play SAM, to play WILL and definitely mentor the younger guys,” Barwin said of his role. “I haven’t played in Bettch’s defense but it’s a 3-4 and I’ve played in a number 3-4s. They’re all similar.”
The 32-year-old Barwin joins veteran leaders like Nate Solder, William Gay and Jonathan Stewart as players added to the locker room for more than just their playing ability.
“People ask what makes a great player. I think what makes a great player is being a good teammate. That’s something I’ve always prided myself on.
“You try to do whatever you can to help.”
Barwin joins Kareem Martin and Lorenzo Carter opposite Olivier Vernon. The Giants hope that “whatever” Barwin can do still includes making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks.