Antoine Bethea is heading into Sunday’s game — and, more importantly, leaving Sunday’s game — with his eyes wide open.
“I’m not going to go into this game thinking: ‘This could be it,’ ” the safety said on Thursday. “But I have to be a realist and say: ‘It may be it.’ ”
That’s because while the Giants are a very young team, the one who has played the most for them this season isn’t.
Bethea, 35, has been on the field for more snaps in 2019 than any other defensive or offensive player on the roster. He reached 1,033 of them after last week’s game against Washington and has missed only four all season (he isn’t always in for goal-line situations).
“I feel good,” Bethea said. “That’s not one of the things I worry about. I take care of my body and I know how to play the game. Me being durable is one of the things I’ve hung my hat on throughout my career.”
It’s a career that may be coming to an end. Bethea won’t get the type of send-off the Giants gave Eli Manning two weeks ago (and likely have planned in some regard for Sunday’s game as well), but he’s had a strong career that is nearing its conclusion. He won a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning and the Colts as a rookie in 2006 and has been with four different teams in his 14 seasons.
He still has one year left on his Giants contract, but the financial ramifications for the team to move on from him are minimal. The team also is high on its secondary, which in recent weeks has started four players who had never taken an NFL snap before this season . . . and Bethea.
“There’s a lot that goes into bringing a guy back for Year 15 who is 36 years old,” Bethea said. “But I still feel like I can go out there and do it. If it’s in my court, I’ll be playing next year.”
Probably every snap, too.
Notes & quotes: The Elias Sports Bureau changed the scoring on a sack from Sunday’s win over Washington, giving Markus Golden a full takedown of Dwayne Haskins rather than sharing it with Lorenzo Carter. That gives Golden not 9.5 but 10 sacks, making him the first Giant to reach double-digits in the category since Jason Pierre-Paul had 12.5 in 2014 and the first Giants linebacker to accomplish the feat since Lawrence Taylor had 10.5 in 1990 . . . TE Scott Simonson suffered a concussion in practice on Thursday and is in the protocol, leaving him almost no chance of being cleared in time to play on Sunday . . . T Mike Remmers (concussion) and CB Corey Ballentine (back) did not practice on Thursday. LB Alec Ogletree (back) was limited.