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Calvin Munson gets unexpected promotion at linebacker

Eli Rogers of the Steelers is tackled by Calvin

Eli Rogers of the Steelers is tackled by Calvin Munson of the Giants during an NFL preseason game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Aug 11, 2017.  Photo Credit: Steven Ryan

Calvin Munson is trying to make the Giants as an undrafted backup linebacker and special teams player. On Tuesday, he wound up in a spot he didn’t expect to find himself: Calling the huddle with the starting defense.

The battlefield promotion happened when B.J. Goodson had to leave practice with a back injury. The Giants are thin at linebacker, particularly in the middle. Mark Herzlich is sidelined with a stinger, J.T. Thomas was cleared from PUP on Tuesday and not ready to practice fully, and Keenan Robinson is coming back from a concussion.

So in stepped Munson.

“The best ability there is out there at this point in the linebacker group is availability,” Ben McAdoo said.

Munson, listed at 6-feet tall and 241 pounds out of San Diego State, seemed to do a reasonably good job. He was certainly not overwhelmed.

“I’m getting more confident,” he said. “I’ve been here every day and I’m just trying to learn and learn each day.”

Standing in a huddle giving direction to All-Pros and Pro Bowlers, though, can be a bit daunting.

“We do the same plays [with the second and third teams],” Munson said. “The ones, they expect more of you. If you are going to be in that role, they want you to perform well. But at the same time they’re helping me. J.C. [Jonathan Casillas] is helping me with a lot of the calls. I was just trying to go out there and do the best I can and make it like any other play.”

Munson even made a big hit in 11-on-11 goal-line plays, stuffing running back Orleans Darkwa for a loss. But chances are that his stint as the voice of the Giants’ starting defense will be a short one. McAdoo did not seem overly concerned with Goodson’s injury.

“He got a sore back just jamming a receiver,” McAdoo said. “There were some crossing routes. He just got caught up in the wash there.”

Goodson was checked by trainers and did not return to practice, but he remained on the field to watch the remainder of the workout.

“It was a great opportunity,” McAdoo said of the chance for Munson. “We’ll go in, we’ll evaluate the practice, and see how [he] did.”

New York Sports