The 36-year-old Izzo played for three teams in a 14-year NFL career (1996-2009) and was both a three-time Super Bowl champion with New England and a three-time Pro Bowler. He was credited with 275 special teams tackles in 200 regular-season games and 23 more in 21 postseason games.
"I think our players will relate very well to a guy like this," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "He has the ability to speak in very straightforward terms and very colorfully. This game is a struggle. In the long run, many times it is who is tougher, who wants it more, who is willing to pay a greater price. This guy brings all of that stuff to the table."
Although Izzo has no prior fulltime NFL coaching experience, that didn't deter Coughlin in making the hire.
"I think that this team, at this time right now ... we have a veteran coach, we have a guy (Quinn) that has been around long enough to know exactly what I want. Let's get a breath of fresh air - let's get somebody that it is new to him. Let it be new to a bunch of others, too, the way he approaches it. All you have to do is be the best you can possibly be every day. And that is what I think he will bring to the table."
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to get into the business that I know - what I've been doing as a player for 14 years," Izzo said. "It's something that was a natural step for me to take. But I'm a rookie all over again as far as the coaching aspect. There's a lot to this part of the game that is different than the things I experienced as a player. But there are also things I can take from my playing career and hopefully give our guys the best coaching, which they should expect."
As a Player:
Izzo was special teams captain for the Patriots every year he was with the team, starting with his first in 2001 through his final season in New England in 2008. The versatile, though undersized, linebacker played in sub packages on defense as well as his lead role on special teams. He led all Patriots in special teams tackles five of the eight years he played in Foxboro. Though he may not have been a prototypical linebacker for the NFL, Izzo was a very smart player, using his experience and his ability to see the field to get to the point of attack on a consistent basis. Through th eend of his career, Izzo remained a New England fan favorite, despite donning the Green and White of New York.
What He Brings:
Izzo is a very cunning player, setting up blockers so he can get around them to get to the ballcarrier. Time and again, he'd fake runnign one way to set a block up the wrong direction, then veer into the path of the runner to disrupt the play, if he didn't make the tackle. As a coach, Izzo's aimable personality will help him get his message across to players who need every advantage they have to retain a roster spot. Being elected as a team captain eight consecutive years in New England only solidifies what others have seen in his leadership abilities. He should be a natural fit for a coach in the NFL. Assuming he brings the same discipline to practice that he showed in practice and preparation for games, Izzo's charges will be well educated in what they need to do on the field.
Off The Field:
Many players are actively engaged in off-field charatible pursuits. The same goes for Izzo who has a military background and orgatnixzed a beenfit for the trroops each year. You can find out more about Izzo's Charity efforts here: /www.larryizzosalutetothetroops.com
Material from the Sports Xchange was used in this report. Insider Analysis by Patriots Insider Jon Scott. Follow him here: @JScottNFL on Twitter.
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