Mitchell talks about his impact on special teams

"...this is more than just a game. This is a business and this is my profession. And I've worked that way..." - Brian Mitchell

Shortly after the free agency window opened for business, New York inked the 34-year-old Brian Mitchell to a four-year contract worth approximately $3.5 million.

Q: How much of an impact can one special teams player make?
A:
The guys around here see me as the old guy and the wise guy. But if I get out on the field and approach it like I'm a young guy, those guys are going to start working hard. At the same time, I'm taking the weight off Tiki's shoulders. You don't want a guy running the ball 25 times and then having to return punts as well. That's hard on him and puts him in kind of a risk position. I've been returning kicks and punts at a high level for a long time. Hopefully I can bring consistency, a little more experience and my enthusiasm. When you think of offense you think of Jeremy; when you think of defense you think of [Michael Strahan]. I expect people to think of me when they think of special teams. I'm still going to approach it as hard and as tough as I can. I'm still going to be in your face, because that's the type of player that I am. When you're a player like that, people don't like you if you're on the other team because you're good and you're doing what you're supposed to do. But your team loves you. For years I wasn't liked by the Giants fans, but I plan to be loved by them now. I was hated by Philly while I was with Washington, then loved when I got there. I plan to be hated by them again. On the field, I'm going to talk to you. If you can't handle someone saying something to you you're in the wrong game anyway. Once I figure out that you can't handle it, I'm going to keep doing it.

Q: Will your presence alone upgrade the play of some of the other special teamers?
A:
It might. Some of these guys probably watched me when I was growing up. Some of the other guys might need to be persuaded. Either way, I can do that. I try to be like Art Monk. He never chastised or told you what to do; he just went out and did his job. You think, ‘Man, if Art Monk is working that hard, I better do my job, too.' Earnest Byner was another guy like that. When younger guys see that an older guy is interested in them, it makes them want to work even harder. Everyone has someone they're trying to please – it could be your coach, a player, your mom or dad. I'm going into my 14th season, but I've been [at the off-season program] from the first day. I might be old, but I can still run. And I don't have to think on the field. The young guy has to think. Earnest Byner took me under his wing in the very beginning and taught me that this is more than just a game. This is a business and this is my profession. And I've worked that way. Of all the guys drafted before me when I was drafted in the fifth round, I'm the only one left in the league.


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