More so within their own blue house, the Giants will occasionally retain the likes of players that are otherwise “done” due to injury. Last offseason, wideout Domenik Hixon was re-signed to a one-year deal after again tearing his ACL against Seattle in 2011. It wasn’t a popular move by General Manager Jerry Reese as most didn’t know how Hixon could return to his skill position after suffering the same injury to the same knee a second year in a row. In retrospect, 13 games, 39 receptions for 567 yards and two touchdowns aren’t shabby stats for a 3rd string wide receiver in a system that spreads the ball. They, in fact, mirror the stats for #87 before his injuries – with kickoff returns being the only difference (he wasn’t used on them in ’12).
The latest conversations about signing ailing athletes are two-part in origin. Many are still hurting over favorites being released and then news broke a week later of the Giants signing defensive back Terrell Thomas back to wear #24 in blue. It isn’t that simple.
All injuries are not the same. Most orthopedic surgeons can tell you that, but the rehab and (excuse the repetition here) mental fortitude of the rehabber. That is where the Giants are with both of these players (albeit, Domenik Hixon is set to be an UFA next month) – they know and offer low risk-high reward-type contracts. That isn’t the point, though. It’s that the Big Blue front office knows more about players than any fan could think they do. How many fantasy owners passed on Adrian Peterson last season?
That one serious mental aspect of rehab is a brutal one, but imagine going through it not once or twice, but three times. Weak minds would falter and give in to a self-loathing that tries to creep in. Others find inspiration where they can. Recently, it was revealed that Terrell Thomas has had some outside help while on his last road to eventually getting back on the green Timex gridiron.
The two met at the Pro Athletes Outreach conference for Christian athletes last offseason. Davis called Thomas instantly when the news broke after the pre-season game that re-injured the ACL in Thomas’ right knee. Davis, who had torn his ACL in 2009, 2010 and 2011 consecutively, understood the place that T2 was then in. Conversations revolved around faith and family, but Davis then took it upon himself to text his new friend uplifting updates weekly during the 2012 season.
"I told him, ‘Don’t give up on your dream, believe in yourself and continue to fight,’ " Davis evoked this week. " 'I’m living proof, and I’m going to do whatever I can each and every week to show you that it is possible. If you continue to work hard and believe in what you can do, then you’ll be in the same position that I was in.’ "
Having someone there for you is one thing. To have someone that can relate and empathize is an ally on another level. That self-doubt and fear that can creep in with the injury, pain and subsequent frustration is calmed by the fact that someone else not only experienced it, but in admirable fashion, conquered it.
"It’s one thing to have confidence when you’re not playing, and it’s a totally different thing to have confidence when you are out there and you’re in the fire," Davis said. "But play after play after play, you become comfortable with your surroundings and everything that’s going on, and you stop worrying about that knee."
Thomas Davis is a positive for Terrell and should continue to be.
"If you look at Thomas Davis, and the season that he had in 2012, the guy was written off. A lot of people said that I should have just retired and hung it up and my knees were bad," Davis said. "I think Terrell is going to be just fine."
Whether or not the story unfolds in the same manner remains to be seen, but if you’ve ever been even on the cusp of a repeat injury (much less a third time), this story is already streaming rays of hope for #24.
Also…Carolina, Carolina Panthers, Domenik Hixon, Football, Jerry Reese, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Terrell Thomas, Thomas Davis
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