Of the multitude of players coming to the Giants this offseason either via free agency or trade, linebacker Jameel McClain likely has the most inspirational backstory.
Just two years ago, in a game between the Redskins and his former team, the Ravens, McClain suffered a career threatening spine injury. Though his road to recovery was arduous, and somewhat miraculous by medical standards, ten months later he would play for the Ravens against the Steelers. Now though, McClain is far away from that rivalry and the obstacles which previously threatened his career, and instead, McClain says he has great expectations for his fresh start with the Giants.
"It's amazing," noted McClain of his new surroundings. "A lot of good guys and obviously getting to be here and be in this beautiful facility and seeing all of the great things that are being accomplished here. It's a learning experience for me but it's been very fun so far."
The six year veteran spent his entire career in Baltimore, but after an sub-par campaign last season, McClain is among a whole host of new faces on this Giants. McClain says these fresh faces will be an important piece to continuing the Giants storied tradition.
"Yeah, there are a lot of free agents," noted McClain. "I think they brought in about 20 new guys so when you bring in a lot of new faces everybody's has to get a feel for it. It's good. New is good. New is good and old is good and the mixture of all of them creates something special. All of the guys that just came in, such as myself, we're just getting hold of the Giant way just like everybody else and getting on board for what's being done."
McClain played virtually every style of defense with the Ravens during his tenure, however, the former Syracuse standout says despite changing defensive schemes and roles multiple times, all that switching does not impact his style of play.
"You know what, to try to define it as a 3-4, I kind of see that as minimizing what we did as a defense. It's more like a multiple front defense. We went from a 4-3 to 3-4 to a 4-6 but how I see my role fitting in on this team is whatever the coaches want me to play, that's where I'll fit in. I'm an old school football player. I just want to be plugged in and play and compete whatever way I can. It's not that big of a difference from what I did in Baltimore."
Ultimately though, McClain says his main goal is just to contribute and help the team succeed.
"Yeah, that fits right into my mold of plan, man," said the veteran linebacker. "Just plug me in, coach, and let me hit somebody."
Now those are words every coach wants to hear.