Tight end Levine Toilolo does not know exactly how he will fit into the New York Giants’ offensive scheme, but he’s not too concerned about the details.
“All I know is I’m just coming in to work my tail off and do whatever they ask me to do,” Toilolo said. “Whatever I can do to help the team win, that’s what I’ll do.”
The Stanford alum is entering his eighth NFL season, having spent five years with the Atlanta Falcons and one season each with the Detroit Lions and the San Francisco 49ers. At 28 years old, Toilolo has played in 108 regular-season games with 67 starts and eight postseason games with five starts. He played in Super Bowl LI with the Falcons and Super Bowl LIV with the 49ers last season.
Toilolo said that he believes his experience playing in high-stakes situations has taught him what a winning culture looks like.
“For me, one of the biggest things that I can definitely point out from the two teams that were successful was just the bond between the players and teammates, and just how close everyone was in the building,” Toilolo said. “Not just player to player, but even the players to coaches. Everyone was pretty tight. When you’re able to build those relationships off the field and you can kind of come together and you’re kind of playing for more than just yourself. You’re playing for your brother next to you and for your coaches.”
Though he is sad to leave behind the connections he made with teammates in San Francisco, Toilolo is excited to meet new players in New York as well as connect with old teammates. Toilolo joins a tight end corps of Evan Engram, Eric Tomlinson, C.J. Conrad, and Garrett Dickerson and Kaden Smith, a fellow Stanford graduate.
“I think that’s one of the programs that allow you to do a little bit of everything as far as blocking and receiving being in a pro-style offense,” Toilolo said. “I think that just kind of helps you develop your game in all different aspects. It’s really a credit to the coaches there and obviously guys like Kaden that work hard at their craft.”
It was Toilolo’s years at Stanford that prepared him for the versatility of the tight end position at the NFL level. He said that he believes the multi-faceted nature of the position makes the tight end a crucial part of the offense all times. In his career, Toilolo has 97 receptions for 996 yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season.
“I always think the more tight ends on the field, the better,” Toilolo said. “I think the tight end position is a unique one in terms of you can have so many different body types and different athletes out there. You can ask them to do a wide range of things. Whether that’s in the blocking game or the receiving game. Even nowadays, you see tight ends lining up in the backfield as kind of a fullback or H-Back types.”
“It’s definitely a fun time to be a tight end,” Toilolo added.
That fun should only increase as Toilolo will now be helping block for running back Saquon Barkley.
“I’m definitely excited to be able to get out there and hopefully do whatever I can to kind of help him out,” Toilolo said. “If that’s trying to open up a hole or whatever, then I’m just going to focus on how I can try to help him and help this offense.”
Because Toilolo has played different roles at the tight end position, he feels prepared to block for new players like Barkley and also contribute by receiving or working out of the backfield.
“In Atlanta, I’ve been in the backfield as far as whether it’s lead blocking or floating around,” Toilolo said. “But I’ve been in-line, I’ve been flexed out a little bit. Obviously as a player, you’re always working to improve on all aspects of your game.”
Though transitioning to New York will bring change for Toilolo in the near future, his past experience playing various roles for different teams has prepared him for fresh challenges.
“I’m excited to be able to meet some of the new teammates that I have and be with this new coaching staff,” Toilolo said. “I’m excited for what’s to come, and for what we’re going to be able to try to work together and try to do. Like I said, to be a part of this team and this new opportunity is definitely exciting. I’m looking forward to it.”