Chase Blackburn has two young kids, including a one-month-old son. But when the call came on Tuesday evening, he had to grab his bags and run.
“I’ve been working out and I had some pretty good workouts with some other teams over this time, some good calls, good conversations … so I kept a bag packed,” said the Giants’ newest linebacker who also becomes their most veteran one. “It’s the business that we’re in. It can be any minute. I wouldn’t have had time to pack too much if I wasn’t already set up. (My wife) knows. She married me. She knew what she got with it. That’s how you go. At the drop of a hat you have to go.”
The hat dropped about 4 p.m. on Tuesday when he got the call from the Giants. He was supposed to be on a 6:12 flight to New Jersey, but it was delayed about three times. He arrived on Tuesday night and practiced with the team on Wednesday.
“It was the first time I wore a helmet in a long time,” he said. “I noticed it, maybe, the first couple of plays I was out there. After that it’s natural. It’s riding a bike. You put that stuff back on, you want to hit somebody. It was nice being back out there.
“I didn’t sleep last night. I thought it was game day today. Seriously, I just sat there going through all of the playbook. Obviously I knew kind of the stuff they run here and the system. Just trying to replay everything in mind to get a jump start on what was going on. I had last year’s playbooks, all of my notebooks. Just kind of read through those and just have to remember all of the terminology.”
The Giants brought Blackburn in to give them some depth and experience at linebacker. Mark Herzlich, who had played reasonably well, has an ankle injury and Michael Boley, although optimistic about a return this week, has missed the last the games with a hamstring. Blackburn was the special teams captain last year, so he can also help in that regard.
Blackburn was a free agent at the beginning of the season, but the Giants did not re-sign him. They had him in for a workout when starting middle linebacker Jonathan Goff was put on IR with a torn ACL just prior to the start of the regular season, but decided to get by with Boley and the rookies.
“He’s still in great shape,” Tom Coughlin said. “We’ve worked him out before. He has knowledge of our system. He can play in the depth of our system right away. He’s also a contributor on special teams, which is good timing with regards to that as well.”
“That was one of the reasons, I think, they brought me back, knowing the system, knowing the special teams, knowing the guys,” Blackburn said. “I know the chemistry in the locker room and things like that. I know the coaches and what they expect. I think that all plays into it, but I’m just glad to be back wearing that NY, even though I’m in number 93. I still have the NY on the chest.”