Mark Herzlich switched jersey numbers this offseason, and that might be the least of the changes he is in the process of undergoing.
The linebacker and special teams ace for the Giants the past seven years said he had to give up his No. 94 — the number he wore in college — in favor of 44 so he has an eligible number for a new role on offense.
“The more things you can provide for a team, the better,” he said. “[I’m] learning the whole offense and figuring out where I can help. That’s always been my thing, wherever the Giants need me to help out I’ll be there. Learning offense is the next part of that.”
Herzlich, who Tuesday was in Manhattan, where he was honored as a Hometown Hero at the United Way of New York City’s 24th annual Gridiron Gala, would not say exactly where he will figure into the offense. He did line up at tight end on one goal-line play two seasons ago, and he has played tight end on the scout team in practices for a few years. Other than that, he hasn’t played offense since high school.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “Anytime you want me to add another weapon to my repertoire, yeah sure, sign me up. The more I can learn the better and the more I can help out, the better . . . I anticipate helping out in all three phases this year. You have to fill your brain as much as it can be filled.
The only hard part of the process, Herzlich said, was losing his number. He had waited several years before Mathias Kiwanuka retired before grabbing it, and now he has yielded it.
“Honestly, at the end of the day, it becomes a number,” he said. “That was that chapter and we’re on to another chapter.”