After the first practice of training camp on Friday, Matt LaCosse texted his dad with the good news.
“Hey,” he wrote, “one day further than last year! That’s progress!”
Last year, LaCosse was an undrafted rookie who had the misfortune of injuring his hamstring on the first day of camp. The Giants were excited about his potential, had recruited him pretty hard as a free agent, and liked his versatility on the field, but they didn’t have patience to wait for him to heal. They waived him, and LaCosse’s journey with the Giants seemed to be over before it even had a chance to start.
“Me getting cut showed me how, for lack of a better term, brutal this league is,” LaCosse told Newsday on Saturday, after making it through his SECOND practice of the summer, breaking his own record.
The Giants may have lacked the patience to wait for him, but they never lost interest. While LaCosse worked out for other teams – he signed with the Jets for a few days late in camp -- the Giants continued to monitor him. In early November they added him to their practice squad. At the end of the season they brought him up to the 53-man roster.
Now he’s here to give it another try. A different try.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity that first of all they called me back and now that they’re giving me the opportunity to compete for playing time,” he said. “Last year was a feel out – ‘let’s see how this kid is.’ This year I feel like I’m competing and I did pretty well in the offseason (program) so I’m trying to continue that to now.”
He’s got a chance to make an impact. While he is behind returning players Larry Donnell and Will Tye on the depth chart and competing against rookie draft pick Jerell Adams for reps, he’s also at a position that has no clear-cut hierarchy. It’s also a position where the Giants may decide to keep extra bodies.
“We’re going to keep the best players, we’re not going to hold ourselves hostage with what kind of numbers we want at different spots,” McAdoo said on Saturday. “The numbers are going to fluctuate based on how they perform.”
McAdoo noted that when he was coaching in Green Bay they were the first team in NFL history to have five tight ends on the active gameday roster.
“We’re going to keep the best players we can keep,” McAdoo said.
That could include LaCosse, who now is able to chuckle about the abruptness of his departure a year ago.
“If you can laugh at yourself it’s healthy,” he said. “Obviously I want to be here for the long run. I like to joke around and kid around, but I’m serious on the inside and I’m very excited to keep going and keep playing and get more and more playing time. Just keep going.”
One day at a time.