EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jon Beason and Brandon Meriweather enjoyed the NFL's version of a family reunion today at Giants' training camp.
The linebacker and safety were teammates for four seasons at the University of Miami (2003-06). They share a birthday, Jan. 14. The two players were selected 24th (Meriweather) and 25th in the 2007 NFL Draft.
And now they've reunited. The Giants today signed Meriweather, a nine-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowler, to shore up the back of their defense, which has been depleted by injuries.
"Once a Cane (Miami Hurricane), always a Cane," Beason said after practice. "So to me, it's about putting the band back together. We played all four years together, he was All-American, he was the quarterback of our defense and got everybody lined up. Extremely intelligent player, could be coaching one day. Understands fronts, run fits, coverage, entry angles, how to break on the ball. That's how you get big hits, taking the proper steps and anticipation. He's going to help us tremendously, a veteran, another voice back there, and I think it's going to make our secondary a lot better."
"That's my brother," Meriweather said. "It's like going to a family reunion. It's like getting back with your brother. In his and my case, getting back with my little brother."
Meriweather was the New England Patriots' first-round draft choice in 2007. Beason was chosen moments later by the Carolina Panthers.
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"We had an ongoing bet who was going to go first, and he one-upped me," Beason said. "It was all good."
Photos of safety Brandon Meriweather's career with Washington
"I beat him, he knows that," Meriweather said. "I actually thought he was going to go first, but yeah, I beat him."
Meriweather spent four seasons with the Patriots and has also played for Chicago and Washington. He was a Pro Bowler in 2009-10. So was Beason, who was traded here on Oct. 4, 2013.
Of course, the Giants are far less interested in their friendship than they are in how well Meriweather can play. With Nat Berhe (calf), Landon Collins (knee) and Mykkele Thompson (Achilles tendon, out for the season) sidelined, they need help at safety.
"I'm excited, man," Meriweather said. "Anytime you can come to a great organization, you've always got to be excited and ready to help.
"I'm going to go in and I'm going to put my all into it. I'm going to get with coach every day until I get it the way I knew every other defense."
Asked if he is still the player who was selected to two Pro Bowls, Meriweather said, "I know I am."
Meriweather was thrown into the fire in the full-pads practice, taking far more reps than he anticipated.
"They actually threw me in and I didn't know I was going to get that many reps at all," he said. "I thought I was going to do some running around, but not that.
"It's always good to learn on the fly. It's always good just to learn, just throw them in and let them sink or swim. That's the way you learn."
- Linebacker Jameel McLain and offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz returned to the field today after missing more than a week.
McClain suffered a stinger on Aug. 5, and Schwartz has been rehabbing his surgically-repaired ankle. Neither made the four-night trip to Cincinnati last week.
"It's good to be back," McClain said. "It's good to be out there running around, having fun, doing what I love. It was good to be back out there."
When he wasn't taking reps, McClain moved to an adjacent field and ran sprints.
"I'm just running extra," he said. "To have a week off or two weeks or whatever it was, I have to make sure I'm doing extra between the drills. My goal is to have gassers, at least two, between each drill, to try and get myself in better shape and then do more after practice, because when the game comes, there isn't any preparing for that. So you've just got to run your butt off."
>> MCCLAIN RETURNS TO PRACTICE
The Giants don't have full-contact practices, but McClain admitted his goal was to mix it up when he was on the field.
"My goal is to hit somebody from the beginning, so that gets out of the way automatically," he said. "Or at least so I show the tempo to my teammates, so they don't think that they have to slow down because of me. I'm going to go hard, regardless. Injuries are going to happen, hits are going to happen, there isn't any controlling that. Just do it smart, and go hard."
Schwartz had similar thoughts. He began practice as the second-team right guard, later took reps with the starters, and moved over to tackle when Marshall Newhouse left practice because of heat-related issues.
"I felt a lot better than I did last week," Schwartz said. "I made it through, and I feel good heading into tomorrow and the rest of the week.
"I felt more like myself today, which was nice. I didn't really feel like I was kind of behind with my hands and my feet. I was a little tired today, but my hands were better than they had been in any practice so far."
- Wide receiver Rueben Randle (tendonitis), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (stiff neck), cornerbacks Prince Amukamara (groin) and Jayron Hosley (concussion protocol), and the safeties listed above missed practice.
All the tests done on Hosley's neck were negative.
- Cornerback Trumaine McBride, who strained a hamstring Friday night in the preseason game in Cincinnati, did practice.
- The stands at the Quest Diagnostic Training Center were packed, and Odell Beckham Jr. drew large cheers for a couple of catches, notably a leaping grab over Trevin Wade near the end of practice.