In some non-Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz contract soap opera news, New York Giants' defensive tackle Marvin Austin told reporters at mandatory mini-camp that following Big Blue's 2012 campaign, he underwent surgery to correct an issue (torn meniscus) that caused his knee to lock up. Given that Austin practiced during OTAs, it's clear the procedure was minor, but with the seemingly excessive laundry list of injuries the third-year player has suffered throughout his career, there's no injury he can sustain worth dismissing as meaningless.
Austin was the Giants' second-round draft pick in 2011, but missed his entire rookie season with a torn pectoral muscle. In 2012, a back injury, along with being buried on the depth chart, caused Austin to miss eight games and limited the former North Carolina standout to just five tackles, three of which were assisted. Austin failed to break the Giants already thin defensive tackle rotation and was maligned as a bust for the majority of the season.
“You see the competition (at defensive tackle),” said Austin. “I want to make this team. I’ve got to show them what I can do. I haven’t shown them anything. Some things don’t have to be said.”
With the Giants' acquisitions of Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson and Jonathan Hankins, along with Markus Kuhn's return from ACL surgery and Shaun Rogers' return from a blood clot, Austin is going to enter training camp as a long shot to make the roster. The Giants have already committed significant guaranteed money to Linval Jospeh, Jenkins and Hankins for next season, which leaves just one more roster spot left for a defensive tackle. If Patterson is healthy, he has the most talent and experience of any remaining candidates, while Kuhn saw significant playing time before injuring himself last season.
In the NFL, anything can happen, and it's possible that the competition at defensive tackle will motivate Austin to come into training camp in impeccable shape and become the player that general manager Jerry Reese drafted him to be. It's also possible that the Giants once again suffer rampant injuries at defensive tackle and Austin makes his way onto the roster by default. It's still much to early to tell, but Marvin Austin will be fighting for his job this offseason and it's going to be an extremely uphill battle for him to make the final roster.
The first step to putting himself in a position to succeed is to stay healthy, which has been a rare occurrence for Austin throughout his career.
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