When it came down to it, Jon Beason did everything he could to return.
But it just wasn't possible for the Giants' starting middle linebacker, who must undergo season-ending toe surgery.
"That's just the mentality of a football player, more so a linebacker. It's a blue-collar position, and I did everything I could," Beason said Tuesday on WFAN before having the surgery. "Obviously, I want to be out there. I want to be contributing. I want to make things right. Right now things aren't going well. You've got to listen to the doctors. Ultimately, it comes down to a decision based on playing football again. So you have the surgery and you go through the rehab and you come back and you do it again next year."
In the meantime, the eight-year veteran wants to remain a presence on the team in meetings and practices, echoing coach Tom Coughlin's sentiments from Monday when the news broke.
"I think that actually helps you heal faster. Still being around it, it keeps you motivated," said Beason, who added that he loves the preparation for a game. "It keeps you engaged, and obviously I want to be with my teammates.''
But before that comes the devastation of having a season cut short.
Unfortunately for Beason, it's not the first time dealing with this process. He hasn't made it through a full 16-game schedule since 2010 with the Carolina Panthers, playing just 24 games in four seasons since then.
"You take 24 hours, maybe 48 hours, to kind of sulk," Beason said. "And you're upset and you're emotional about it because the end result is so far out. Now you're talking September 2015. But as soon as you get past that, you know that there's progress in getting it fixed, knowing that you're going to be healthy again.
"Attack the rehab, and then you know that if you're healthy, you're one of the best, and that's how I feel. I really feel like if I'm healthy, I feel like I'm the best in the league, and that's the goal. And that's what's going to happen as we go through this rehab process. So it's sad, but at the same time, you know that you're moving forward."
The Giants will have to move forward as well.
And the man they will turn to is Jameel McClain, the key offseason acquisition who has already played in the middle for Beason as his foot and toe troubles lingered since summer.
Beason said he felt good with McClain in there and doesn't expect a drop-off.
"Well, when we picked him up, right away I was excited about him," Beason said about the former Baltimore Raven. "He's definitely a voice, a guy who's played the MIKE linebacker position. So seeing him throughout the preseason, and obviously I wasn't a part of the three-game win streak, which he was playing MIKE exclusively. And he's played SAM. He's played WILL. He's a veteran guy. He's a Philly dude. He's tough. He's going to help us."
Photos from Jon Beason's career with the Giants