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For 3rd year in a row, Brandon Jacobs' season ends at a career crossroads

Brandon Jacobs rushes the ball during a game

Brandon Jacobs rushes the ball during a game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. (Nov. 24, 2013) Credit: Mike Stobe

Brandon Jacobs had surgery on his left knee yesterday, as doctors performed a cartilage graft to repair osteoarthritis in the joint. I’m not sure exactly what that entails, but it doesn’t sound like something that 31-year-old running backs bounce back from. It doesn’t seem that Jacobs has made any definite decisions about his future, but his NFL career has most likely come to an end.

This departure from the Giants certainly does not rival his last one.

In 2011 he helped the team win a Super Bowl, trotted around MetLife Stadium with the Lombardi Trophy so fans could have their hands brush against it, and essentially went out with a storybook-type ending. Only it wasn’t the ending.

Jacobs, after being released by the Giants that offseason, signed with the 49ers and, due to a knee injury, barely played for them in 2012. He was released from that team late in the season and it seemed that his days in the NFL had come to another end, this one far less ideal than the first.

But wait! There’s more!

Jacobs, who was pretty much accepting retirement and allowed his weight to reach 290 pounds, trimmed down and was signed by the Giants in Week 2 of this season to help replace injured Andre Brown. He played pretty well, when he was able to get on the field. In Week 6 he ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears. In Week 12 he ran for 75 yards against the Cowboys. He also had a 37-yard run in that game, but it was one in which he was run out of bounds at the 4 instead of rolling over Dallas safety Jeff Heath. The Giants had to eventually settle for a field goal.

His last carry as a Giant – probably – was a 1-yard run up the middle on first-and-goal from the 5, a play before Eli Manning hit Louis Murphy Jr. for a touchdown and then Andre Brown ran in a two-point conversion to tie the score at 21 in the fourth quarter. The Giants never got the ball back in that game.

So for now, Jacobs’ story ends (again) not with a victory lap around the field but with surgery, Tom Coughlin describing him as “incapacitated,” and what is shaping up to be the worst season of his career record-wise.

Even with all of that, Jacobs practiced a bit last week and even made the trip to San Diego before he was ruled inactive on gameday. He said his goal was to show Coughlin enough to get back on the field.

“The way he still came out there last week and showed how much he really loves this team and loves us as a running back unit, showed support,” Brown said. “He was a great leader … It’s sad that he couldn’t finish the season out with us, but I know he’ll still be here. He’s going to still go out on the running back dinners with us every Friday, even though he’s going to be on crutches. I know he is still going to be a part of that and I’m just looking forward to seeing him and hoping he has a speedy recovery.”

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