FILE - New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) runs...

FILE - New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) runs during an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2022, in Landover, Md. The Giants signed Collins to the active roster Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, two days ahead of a game in Minnesota against the Vikings (11-3). (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr., File) Credit: AP/Daniel Kucin Jr.

As a practice squad player, Landon Collins knew the rules.

After being told he’d be a game-day elevation for last week’s game at Washington, his third of the season, he knew he would have no more opportunities to make his case for remaining with the team after that. The Giants would have to terminate his contract, let him linger on the practice squad or promote him to the active roster. On the field against the Commanders was, therefore, his last chance to show what he could do.

He certainly did that.

The former Pro Bowl safety, who is converting to an inside linebacker role with the Giants, played 27 defensive snaps (not to mention 14 on special teams), made three tackles and took an active role in the defensive stands that led to the victory.

On Thursday, he got his promotion to the 53 and was signed to the active roster.

“It’s an honor that I worked hard and showed what I can do,” Collins said. “I never came here with expectations. I came here to go to work and be back in the building, so that’s the best part.”

“I thought he did a nice job,” defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said. “Excited to see where he goes moving forward.”

Collins is part of an inside linebacker group that has been completely overhauled in the span of this season. Rookie Micah McFadden is the only player at the position who has been with the team all year. The two who started in Week 1 — Tae Crowder and Austin Calitro — have since been waived and no longer are on the active roster (Crowder just re-signed to the practice squad). The three who saw the majority of the action Sunday — Collins, Jaylon Smith and another converted veteran, safety Tony Jefferson — weren’t on the team in training camp. Collins didn’t arrive until early October.

“We’ve known each other from around the league,” Collins said. “I know how Jaylon plays, I know how Tony plays, watching each other from afar. When we got on the field, we just jelled because that mentality, that knowledge of the game, those scars we had from back in our younger days, they’ve stuck with us. It helps.”

Like Collins, Smith was a Pro Bowler in what seems like a former NFL life. Both of them, along with Jefferson, transitioned onto the field from the practice squad this season. Smith and Jefferson were promoted rather quickly. Collins took some time, perhaps because of his adjustment to the new position. After appearing in the Week 7 and 8 games, he was inactive until Week 15 last Sunday against Washington.

Collins said that was “humbling” for him. The Giants liked that he didn’t flinch during the process.

“That’s the type of guys we look for to bring into the organization,” Brian Daboll said. “It’s not always going to be perfect. It’s never always going to go your way. Come in with a good attitude. Continue to work. Continue to earn it . . . There’s a mental toughness that you need to have to play this game, and it’s not just after a loss. Maybe it’s from play time, maybe it’s another thing that you’ve got to keep pushing through and keep a positive attitude. He’s done that.”

So now he is part of the actual team. Again. Collins becomes the only active player here who has ever appeared in the postseason in a Giants uniform, having helped the 2016 squad earn the franchise’s most recent appearance.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “For it to have been so many years and the last time was the last time I was here, oh, man, it’s just a blessing in disguise to get that opportunity again. We didn’t get to finish what we did last time and we’re on the road to get that opportunity again.”

Collins got his shot and made it pay off. Now he wants to help the Giants get theirs.

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