As he wrapped up his team meeting on Thursday, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin went over the usual housekeeping items the night before a game.
From a rundown of the itinerary to any final adjustments, it’s not the most exciting part the week, but a necessary one nonetheless. Then Coughlin announced the captains for last night’s game against Chicago. And after he said the names “David Diehl” and “Mathias Kiwanuka” – two veterans established within the organization – Spencer Paysinger slouched back in his chair. He assumed a second-year player like himself wouldn’t be called.
However, the thought did cross his mind.
“He was naming off the captains – Diehl, Kiwi. So I’m thinking, OK, they’re doing all older guys,” Paysinger recalled in the postgame locker room. “I’m sitting next to Tyler [Sash] and everybody. It’s kind of the mundane part of it, but in my head, I said, ‘What if he said Paysinger?’ Then he said ‘Paysinger’ and I looked at him, and he looked back at me and kind of smiled. I heard some commotion around the room, kind of laughing – ‘This is really happening.’”
And that’s how Paysinger became a captain for a night.
“Some of the younger guys came over to me – Henry [Hynoski], Tyler, Mark [Herzlich], Greg Jones – and started calling me ‘captain’ or ‘cap,’” he said. “It was a great experience, definitely a blessing.”
Despite the team’s 20-17 loss, Paysinger was worthy of the nod, leading the Giants with five solo tackles. It came at the tail end of a training camp where Paysinger has continued to evolve from a reliable special teamer as an undrafted rookie last season to competing for time on defense.
“I’ve was captain multiple times back at Oregon, so I’m thinking it’s going to be like that and everything,” Paysinger said of walking onto the field in front of a home crowd before the game. “But the fact that the head coach had the confidence in me was pretty special to me.”