It was a simple mid-May practice in shorts and t-shirts, the first of OTAs for the New York Giants. For second-year cornerback Sam Beal, though, Monday was an admittedly “big day.”
“First day out there in a year,” Beal said.
Chosen by the Giants in the 2018 Supplemental Draft, Beal went down early in spring workouts last season with a right shoulder injury that landed him on IR.
“[Beal] looked good out there today,” said head coach Pat Shurmur.
He came to the Giants having had shoulder issues while at Western Michigan, but said the shoulder was not a problem his final collegiate season. He said he hurt it with the Giants on a freak play where he overextended reaching for a ball and believes his arm was grabbed by a receiver.
Beal stayed in New Jersey to rehab the shoulder during the offseason.
“I don’t think about, I can’t think about it.” he said. “Now it’s just go out there and get my feet wet, work on footwork.
“I feel good. I feel strong.”
Beal said he has been conditioning the shoulder by hitting heavy bags, boxing and doing push-ups. There is no real hitting at this point of the offseason, so the test of taking a real shot to the shoulder will come later. He said, though, that “I know it’s secure.”
Beal is a second-year player, but like rookies DeAndre Baker, Julian Love and Corey Ballentine this will be his first NFL action.
Beal lined up with the first team at left corner on Monday, ahead of first-round pick DeAndre Baker. His best play of the day led to an interception, as he leaped into the air and batted an Eli Manning pass into the arms of safety Jabrill Peppers.
“I just seen the quarterback [Manning] staring him down,” Beal said of his interception. “I’ve got some good eyes.”
While he wanted to make the interception himself, Beal said the best thing about the play was that he had to extend his right arm, the one with the surgically-repaired shoulder.
Beal said sitting out a year was “different” but that it “was helpful for me, actually” because he did a lot of film work. That leaves him feeling better prepared this time around.
Beal is competing for playing time with his young teammates, but with a year of knowledge in his pocket he is also helping them.
Just because I haven’t played doesn’t mean I can’t coach them too. When they came around, I gave them some advice just like the older guys gave me,” he said. “Coach let us know the same thing, help the younger guys even though I’m a young guy too. I’ve been here, so I have to help them.
Coaching, though, is not what the Giants are counting on from Beal. They are counting on him becoming a key part of a revamped young secondary, what Beal called the “new NYPD.”
Monday was a small, but important step in the right direction for Beal.