Giants' search continues for a middle linebacker

Dallas Cowboys inside linebacker Dan Connor brings down

Dallas Cowboys inside linebacker Dan Connor brings down New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram during the first half. (Dec. 23, 2012) (Credit: AP)

The Giants continue to search for a middle linebacker and are expecting to meet with former Cowboy and Panther Dan Connor Saturday. Connor was released by the Cowboys last week after refusing to take a pay cut. He has since received interest from the Raiders and Steelers.

Connor is the second middle linebacker the Giants will entertain during free agency. Earlier this week, they brought in former Viking Jasper Brinkley for a meeting. Brinkley was signed the following day by the Cardinals.

The Giants have stressed the importance of bolstering their run defense this offseason, particularly up the middle. Last year's starter, Chase Blackburn, is an unrestricted free agent whom the Giants made a minimal effort to retain, although his return remains a possibility.

Mark Herzlich, Blackburn's backup last season, would seem to be next in line for the job but might be better suited to an outside position, unlike Connor, who is a natural middle linebacker in a 4-3 scheme.

The Giants did officially re-sign linebacker Keith Rivers Friday to add veteran stability to a position at which most of the players who currently remain are young and inexperienced.

"I'm actually going to be the old one," said Rivers, who turns 27 in May and entered the NFL in 2009 as the Bengals' first-round draft choice (ninth overall). "It's good. I can assume some kind of leadership role and hopefully do that in a good way."

The Giants also met with free-agent wide receiver Louis Murphy, but as of Friday night, they had not reached an agreement with him.

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