There have been plenty of players who have come to the Giants through the years and said they were inspired early in their careers by watching some of the team’s all-time greats. Whether it is a defensive lineman who wants to be the next Michael Strahan or a receiver who wants to be the next Victor Cruz, there is often some role model in Big Blue’s recent history with whom a connection predates a contract.
Rhett Ellison may be the first, though, to want to become the next Bear Pascoe.
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Nothing against the former tight end who was on the 2011 Super Bowl winning team, but it’s a bit of an odd idolatry. Yet Ellison, who on Friday signed a four-year deal with the Giants, said it is the outside-the-margin Pascoe who first inspired him to become a Giant.
“Before the draft, they had just won the Super Bowl, so that was like my dream team,” Ellison said of coming into the NFL in 2012. “And in college all I watched was Bear Pascoe film . . . That was what my role kind of was at USC, which was a lot of the dirty work. It was one of the few guys that I could learn from and watch because there are not a lot of those guys out there that do it at the level he did. That’s how I studied him.”
Ellison, whom the Giants call a tight end but who can also play fullback, may be even better at the role that Pascoe had to learn on the fly with the Giants. He is expected to help the Giants in their running game both out of the backfield and at the edge of the line.
“Rhett is a versatile, hard-nosed player who we feel is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “He also has good hands and is a very capable receiver in the pass game.”
That may be true, but he’s here mostly to block. And he’s happy to do it. “My whole MO is just whatever they need me to do and I’m going to do it,” Ellison said. “Blocking, catching, whatever it takes. Whatever is going to help this team be successful is what I’ll be doing.”
And he’s happy to be doing it in New York. Finally.
“I watched a lot of New York Giants tight end stuff and they flew me out so I was really hoping to come here but it didn’t work out, and for the best,” he said, “because I’m here now. I can’t believe it’s actually happening.”
Notes & quotes: Ellison said one of the first people to congratulate him on his new deal with the Giants was someone who has also been linked to the team this offseason: Adrian Peterson. The two shared a backfield at times in Minnesota. “Adrian is one of my favorite guys,” Ellison said. “He’s a specimen. You don’t really see guys like that ever.” Might he recruit the free-agent running back to a team Peterson has alluded to in the past as a possible landing spot? “He hasn’t told me anything yet,” Ellison said of Peterson’s ultimate destination. “Of course, it would be great to have him with the Giants, but he hasn’t told me. He has his own family to think about and what he wants to do. He’s a great player, great guy, great work ethic, and it was a lot of fun to block for him.” . . . Free-agent OL D.J. Fluker will visit this weekend, according to ESPN. Fluker, a first-round pick of the Chargers in 2013, was released this week. Fluker could compete at either tackle or guard if he is signed.