Leon Hall has about two weeks to figure it out.
No, not the new playbook and schemes and language he’s been digesting in the last few days since he signed with the Giants on Thursday. That, he says, is coming along quickly and while he would not give himself a deadline to be completely comfortable he figures it won’t take very long. The two week countdown has to do with his family.
After spending almost a decade living and working in Cincinnati during his nine-year stint with the Bengals, he and his wife Jessica need to decide what they are going to do with their family. Will they stay behind in Ohio while Hall works and plays in New Jersey? Or will they pick up and join him here? His oldest of three sons is going into the second grade and school starts soon, which is why there is a timeframe in which a choice needs to be made.
“A lot of stuff has been pretty crazy, so we’re not sure yet,” Hall told Newsday. “We’re trying to toss things in the air and figure out what we want to do. But we’ll get it together.”
It’s all part of the whirlwind that Hall’s life has been caught up in.
“You don’t have a lot of time to think,” he said. “Especially the first couple of days you are running from place to place, learning the playbook, meeting new people, trying to remember names. I haven’t really sat back and thought about it much.”
He’s been so engrossed that he didn’t even give any thought to how his back, surgically-repaired in January, held up in his first round of full-contact drills with the Giants on Saturday.
“I wasn’t really concerned with it to be honest,” he said before pausing. “I probably should have been considering I haven’t done any kind of contact since last season. But honestly I didn’t even think about it. Which is good. I didn’t feel it when I made some contact, I just kept rolling.”
The Giants hope the rolling continues. Hall took reps in the slot, which is where the team envisions him playing. It’s where he spent a good deal of time in the last few seasons with the Bengals. But there have also been discussions about playing him on the outside and even possibly moving him to safety where the Giants right now appear to be leaning towards a rookie and a second-year player as starters without any veterans at the position.
“It’s going about as smooth as I think it can go now,” Hall said. “The coaches have been a big part of that as far as not throwing the whole book at me at once. Even though I think I can catch on pretty quickly, and I think I have, they’ve done a good job of giving me a few things each day in the morning and then maybe in the afternoon they throw some more stuff at me.”
“Right now he’s getting his feet wet in the system, he’s learning,” Ben McAdoo said. “He’s played a lot of football, so we expect him to make a quick transition.”
They’re helping him, too. And not just on the football field. While he takes in the football knowledge, he’s also enjoying the culture the Giants have created.
“The organization has been awesome, they try to make it as easy on you as possible,” he said. “I got family coming in I can call somebody and while I’m working that can be handled and I don’t have to think about it or have to worry about it.”
Is that unique?
“I’ve only been in one other place, but I think so,” he said. “Certain places are special. Being in the league for so long guys come in and out and inevitably you always talk about what it was like at different places. How was it there? How was it here? You always get the good and bad of both. It’s funny to hear the stories of people who have been other places, whether it’s Cleveland or San Diego, and it’s interesting to hear just how different organizations run things differently.
“It’s nice,” he added. “First-class. Nothing less. It’s definitely different.”