GIANTS' MARVIN AUSTIN IS HEALTHY AND EAGER TO GET BACK ON THE FIELD AFTER BEING OFF IT FOR TWO YEARS
"December 26, 2009.
That's the last time Marvin Austin was on the field for a meaningful football
game. It was the final game of his junior season at North Carolina, a 19-17 loss
in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Pittsburgh.
That turned out to be the defensive tackle's final game as a Tar Heel after
he was suspended for his senior season before it even started. The Giants still took him in the second round
in last year's draft. Then he tore his pectoral muscle in the Giants' second
preseason game and was placed on the injured reserve list before his rookie
season even started.
And just like that, another year without meaningful football.
"[It's] extremely tough," he said. "Just being out of football for two years
is tough in itself and I just look at it as I got a great opportunity here. I
just got to capitalize on the opportunity I have and try my best to do great
Austin says he is 100 percent healthy and eager to get on the field for a
game that matters. Barring another setback, that won't happen until Sept. 5
against the Cowboys – nearly three years after his final game at North Carolina
-- so for now, he's satisfied with just being around his teammates and being
part of a team.
"It's like a kid in the candy shop," Austin said last week during voluntary
workouts. "It's time to go out there and just to be back on the field, be back
in the weight room doing what I love is exciting."
Austin said he has a "pretty good" understanding of the defense, but admitted
not being on the field has somewhat hindered his education.
"I wouldn't say it's hard to full understand it, but when you're not playing,
it's different," he said. "It's harder to learn when you're not out there
actually going through the motions and getting the calls and getting a feel and
having the chemistry with the guys is definitely a lot harder."
like Prince Amukamara, the Giants' first-round pick last year, Austin will
have to prove his worth despite the setbacks.
Last month, general manager Jerry
Reese voiced some uncertainty about Austin in an interview with Sirius XM
“We’re worried about him a little bit,” Reese admitted. “He hasn’t played in
such a long time now. He tore his pec. He’s been out for such a long time."
Austin thinks the pressure would've been on him no matter what.
"Playing football you should always feel like you have something to prove so
I'm pretty sure every guy on the team, not just our draft class, has something
to prove," he said. "It's not a collective thing where we sat down and said,
'Our draft class, we need to do better.' It's just all of us need to step up."