AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — New York Giants middle linebacker Jon Beason hopes to play in the regular-season opener despite missing all of training camp with a right foot injury.
Beason practiced for the first time Monday and felt good enough to believe that he can have a role against the Lions in Detroit on Monday night.
“Obviously you want to gauge where I am mentally and physically,” Beason said. “What my role is going to be, how big or small, you don’t know, but I am taking advantage of the reps they are giving me. I am trying to prove why I need to be out there.”
Beason has been out since sustaining a ligament tear and a small fracture to the sesamoid during an organized team activity in June. While the injury did not require surgery, it forced the Giants to place their second-leading tackler last season on the physically unable to perform list in training camp. He passed his physical over the weekend.
Veteran Jameel McClain, who was signed in the offseason as a free agent, moved from strong side linebacker to the middle with Beason out.
Coach Tom Coughlin said it was good to see the 29-year-old Beason back, having fun and picking up his teammates.
“He shows great example in what he does, he loves the game, so it is great to have him back out there,” Coughlin said.
The Giants acquired Beason on Oct. 4 in a trade with the Carolina Panthers. He finished with 98 tackles and helped turn around a defense that struggled at the start of the season.
The one thing Beason will be missing Monday if he plays is having made a few tackles in the preseason. He has not hit anyone since last season.
“I think that they trust that I am going to be there,” Beason said. “Obviously there are going to be smart. It is like anything: You always have to prove yourself. I don’t care if you are Eli (Manning) in your 10th or 11th year or you are a rookie. You have to go out and prove yourself every single day, and I think my teammates respect the way I go about my business, and I think the coaches do, too. Nevertheless, I still have to go out there and do it. By the end of the week, I think they will feel pretty confident that I can go out and contribute on whatever level they deem OK.”
NOTES: The Giants signed OT Mark Asper to their practice squad. He was in training camp with the team and cut on Saturday. New York has two spots open on its 10-man practice squad. … A couple of rookie free agents changed their uniform numbers after making the team. WR Corey Washington will wear No. 88 instead of 6. DE Kerry Wynn got No. 72 instead of 69.