EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Less than two weeks after hurting a knee in early in training camp, starting left guard Shane Lemieux is back practicing with the New York Giants.
It’s not surprising. The fifth-round draft pick a year ago takes pride in being known as a tough guy with a well-deserved nasty streak.
“Ever since I was a young football player, the way I was taught to play this game is through physicality and nastiness,” Lemieux said Tuesday after the Giants started gearing up for Saturday’s preseason opener against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
“But you can talk about it or you can do it, you know what I mean?” he added. “If you watch tape, you want to see it on tape. You can’t just say you’re a nasty player and not do it. I’d rather walk the walk than talk the talk.”
Lemieux took over the starting job when Will Hernandez was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after seven games. He never lost the position and started the final nine games.
Coming into camp, he seemed a lock to start until the injury happened. Even Lemieux has trouble seeing how he was hurt watching the replays. He called it a “weird plant” with the foot.
However, it caused him to be carted off the field. Many players say that’s a very lonely feeling, not knowing how it might affect your season or career. It can be frightening.
Lemieux recalled he was just angry.
“I didn’t feel sorry for myself at all,” the Oregon product said. “It’s not like that. I was worried about, crap, I didn’t get my other one-on-one rep, or crap, I didn’t get in the last team period. In my mind I was thinking I’m missing valuable opportunities to get better at this practice. That’s all that was going through my head.”
The Giants offensive line is a little unsettled. Andrew Thomas, a first-round pick a year ago, is the starting left tackle and Nick Gates returns at center. The right side is open. A now-healthy Hernandez has been moved to the right guard spot. The right tackle spot seemingly will be either second-year pro Matt Peart, a third-round pick in 2020, or veteran Nate Solder, who sat out last season because of family concerns about the pandemic.
Solder left the field Tuesday after a team drill with an injury to his right arm. He did not take another snap, watching the rest of practice. While the team did not have an update, if the injury was serious he would not have stayed on the field.
Lemieux was just happy to be back.
“I like to practice. I like to practice. I like to work,” he said. “I want to get better every single day, and I’m just taking it a day at a time.”
NOTES: The Giants have distributed 50,000 tickets to fans to attend a practice Wednesday night at MetLife. It will be the first time the Giants have played in front of a crowd in the stadium since 2019.
“I can’t wait, honestly. Honestly, I can’t” tight end Evan Engram said. “That’s been circled on my calendar. I do miss the fans at training camp every day like in the past. Just being back in the atmosphere and kind of getting a taste of what it’s going to be like come Sept. 12th, I’m definitely looking forward to it and can’t wait.”
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