EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Jon Beason got an early Christmas gift today. He discarded the walking boot he's worn for almost two months.
"The boot is definitely bad for the outfit," Beason said. "(I'm) done with that and moving forward. Things are looking up."
Beason had worn the boot since undergoing surgery to repair the toe injury that ended his season after he participated in only four games. His brief final appearance was on Oct. 19 in Dallas. Ten days later, he was placed on injured reserve.
Today, he followed a sidelined teammate, Victor Cruz, to a podium in the auditorium of the Quest Diagnostics Training Center to provide a public update on his progress.
"The prognosis is three to four months. Today is eight weeks," said Beason, the team's middle linebacker when healthy. "Everything is about to increase big-time. They say with toes, it is like watching paint dry. So for the first four, five weeks, I was just sitting around with my foot up, stitches are in. Over three weeks, which is a little long, I was on a little scooter, unfortunately. It is going to pick up the next couple of weeks, and based on what Dr. (Robert) Anderson (who performed the surgery) down in North Carolina has told me, I will be back running around here in the next three to four weeks . We have plenty of time to get ready for the offseason program, OTA's, minicamps, and we will keep moving forward."
Beason said he will split his rehabilitation between here and North Carolina, where he played the first six-plus seasons of his career for the Carolina Panthers.
Photos from Jon Beason's career with the Giants
"I have modified a lot of things," he said. "You come in as a young guy, you don't know anything. You are just kind of beating your head against the wall going as hard as you can, as often as you can. I have learned to be smart with how I train. Recovery is huge. I just think that is a part of it. The difference is that in my position; it is a tough man position. It is blue collar as a linebacker, and you play every down. You don't rotate like a defensive tackle or a defensive end, or certain packages. You are out there every play. If you are going to play at a high level, often you have to be in the best shape, in my opinion. There is fine line between in the best shape and overtraining. With the injuries I have had, I have to definitely modify what I do. Moving forward, I will definitely come back and still be myself. I think I still possess that special skillset that I can go out and make a lot plays."
Beason's injury was one of several suffered by Giants defensive players this season. Cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Walter Thurmond, ends Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers and linebacker Jacquian Williams are among the 21 players who have joined Beason on injured reserve.
The defense struggled for an extended period, but has played much better in the three-game winning streak the Giants will carry into their season finale Sunday against Philadelphia.
"Obviously, you wish you can contribute," Beason said. "You want to be the reason why things are going well and not why they are going bad. You look at what the guys are able to do. You sit back and watch the film, and you say, 'It's really a matter of taking ownership and being where you are supposed to be, being accountable.' That was a big thing. You don't give up the huge rushing games we have or in terms of points scored against us. It was pretty bad, and pretty consistently bad, for a while, but you step up and you look at yourself first and see how you can get better. I think that is what guys did individually."
In Beason's absence, Jameel McClain has played middle linebacker. McClain leads the team with 108 tackles (69 solo).
"I think Jameel McClain has done a great job," Beason said. "It is a lot of pressure to be a mike linebacker. A lot of times when things go well, you don't necessarily get the praise for it. When things go bad, you usually take the blame for it. It is kind of like being a quarterback. He has done a great job, he has the personality for it. He's made some huge plays for us. He is going to be a big part of what we are doing next year. I think it is something we can build off of.
"It has been nice to see the guys continue to fight, not literally fight, but things were bad, we could've tanked five-six weeks ago, and it could've gotten worse. The guys stayed the course. We are a Tom Coughlin-coached football team. We are going to be resilient, we are going to be smart and, for the most part, do it with class."
Those qualities are exactly what Beason demands of himself. With the Panthers in 2011-12, he was limited to four games because of Achilles tendon and shoulder injuries. But he is determined that his career will be defined by his play on the field and not his time in operating rooms and rehabilitation.
"When you come into the NFL, you set huge goals for yourself," he said. "I think I was well on my way to accomplishing those goals. As you go, the story gets a little rough. You have these injuries and these setbacks and end up becoming a Giant. Going through all of the adversity, you keep blaming it on your feet. I think it is part of life, we all deal with our struggles. Really, what you do in the bad times defines who you really are. For me, I have learned to embrace it and use it as an opportunity to do something big."
Once fully recovered, Beason expects to again be a big part of the defense in 2015.