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5 things to know about Antoine Bethea

Let’s learn more about the Giants’ new safety

NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
Antoine Bethea
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s learn more about Antoine Bethea, the veteran safety who reportedly agreed on Tuesday to sign with the New York Giants.

He can still play deep safety

As a pointed out earlier, Bethea has the versatility to be moved around to several spots in the secondary. He spent 30.1 percent of his time at free safety in 2018.

“He’s fine as a deep free safety, but he can still blitz well too,” said Seth Cox of SB Nation’s Cardinals web site, Revenge of the Birds. “He’s crafty more than anything at this stage of his career, but he’s also one of the hardest working guys in the room.”

Dan Pizzuta had this nugget in our defensive free agency preview:

Last season, Bethea allowed the second-lowest yards per attempt (5.58) and yards per coverage snap (0.51) among 17 safeties targeted 40 or more times per Sports Info Solutions.

Bethea knows the Giants’ defense

Bethea had an excellent year for the Cardinals in 2017, playing for current Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher. He had five interceptions and nine passes defensed while playing 544 of 742 defensive snaps (73.3 percent) at free safety.

“He knows quite a bit on Bettcher’s defense, so it makes sense to bring him in then let him tutor someone young as well,” Cox said.

He was Arizona’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2018

That’s the second such honor for Bethea. He earned that distinction in 2013 with the Indianapolis Colts.

From Bethea’s web site:

Bethea created the “Safe Coverage Foundation” in 2010, which hosts college visits for needy students from his hometown of Newport News, Virginia and provides scholarship help. His “Safe Coverage Technology Program” provides laptops and iPads for high school seniors.

Bethea sells “AB41” merchandise through his website with all profits going to the fight against breast cancer. ...

His work with [Cardinals president Michael] Bidwill and teammates like Corey Peters and Tre Boston on prison reform — specifically having programs in place to help those who have served their debt to society with a completed prison term allowing them to reintegrate into a regular life — has grown important.

Bethea is an author

He wrote a book called “Bet on Yourself,-Inside the Mind of the Ultimate Underdog” which can be ordered via his web site. It’s autobiographical look at Bethea’s journey and what he has learned, and was published in December.

He fits the locker room mold the Giants want

The Man of the Year honor, having won a Super Bowl, his 13 years in the league, the journey he describes in his book all tell you that he is a man of character. The Giants have made no secret that acquiring players with character is important to them.

“Talent sets the stage. Character sets the ceiling,” GM Dave Gettleman said at the Combine.