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Linebacker Jameel McClain returns to practice, says he's not worried about neck problems

New York Giants linebacker Jameel McClain shouts from

New York Giants linebacker Jameel McClain shouts from the sidelines during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. Photo Credit: Brad Penner

Jameel McClain had made up his mind before he even got to his feet.

Down on the turf with a stinger in a practice Aug. 5, the Giants linebacker was unfazed by his history with neck problems, the concerned faces of his teammates and the attention he was receiving from the team's medical staff.

"The funniest thing is most of them didn't even know what was going on because I was smiling the whole time," he said Sunday. "I was like, 'Ahhh, I'll be back.' I was laughing it off the whole time and they're like: 'Just sit there, just sit there.' Nah, I'll be all right. Don't worry about me. I'm used to going through so much, something small to me is probably something big to someone else. I just look at it like, oh, well, I'll be back, I'll be all right."

He returned to practice Sunday. Although the Giants have been extremely cautious with him throughout this brief recovery and undoubtedly will continue to monitor him closely, McClain appears to have no reservations about going back on the football field.

"I'm full tilt until Coach pulls me back," he said. "I'm ready."

The Giants understandably are concerned about any kind of neck injury. Last year, running back David Wilson had to retire at the age of 22 because of a neck condition and repeated stingers. McClain said he's been told by doctors about the option of walking away from football, but it's not something he's willing to listen to right now.

"That was always something that was mentioned before, even before this incident happened," he said of his return from a spinal contusion when he was with the Ravens. "That option is always out there, it's something that is always in the air when you go through an injury like this. But I'm built different. I die hard. Like John McClain."

John McClain is a movie character, Jameel McClain is not. Although he said it is "unfair" to compare his neck injury with Wilson's, it seems as if he could be, as Wilson found himself last year, one more stinger away from having to walk away from the sport. If he's lucky.

For now, he'll be back on the field, fighting for a spot on the roster as the backup to middle linebacker Jon Beason.

It seems as if the Giants are convinced that he can play with limited risk to his health.

"I had my fair share of tests, but it's not any comparison to what I went through before," he said of the examinations in the last few weeks. "What I went through before, I saw about 13 or 14 doctors. Anything short of 13 this time, I was going to be excited with. I was good. They did all of their due diligence to make sure I was right, but it was clear from looking at the MRI that this wasn't the same scenario. This was just a mild incident."

Scary to everyone, it seems, except McClain.


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