EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Sam Beal today returned to the practice field, which he hopes is a precursor to him finally playing a game in a Giants uniform.
"(I am) excited," the second-year cornerback said. "You're always anxious. Just a little anxious, because you haven't been out there in a while. You just want to see how you're moving, see how it really feels. But I felt great."
Since he was selected in the third round of the 2018 supplemental draft, Beal has yet to play in either a preseason or regular-season game and has made only cameo appearances in practice.
He spent all of last season on injured reserve after undergoing shoulder surgery. A player on I.R. is prohibited from practicing. In the spring, he was battling first-round draft choice DeAndre Baker for the starting left cornerback job. But a hamstring injury derailed him again. The Giants kept him on their original 53-man roster before returning him to injured reserve on Sept. 1, which made him eligible to return after the team played its eighth game.
"I actually didn't think it was going to be this long, to be honest," Beal said of his latest injury. "I haven't really dealt with a hamstring before. So, I'm thinking 'Okay, maybe just like a little cramp or something. I'll deal with it.' But it wouldn't go away. So, you just have to deal with it as it comes."
Beal has spent two years studying coordinator James Bettcher's defense, which enabled him to step in and practice full speed.
"I haven't missed a meeting," Beal said. "Just being in there, paying attention and staying locked in. Coach is always speaking to us, keeping us all on the same track. Staying on the right page, taking the right notes, I'll be right on pace with the rest of the guys."
The Giants have two important dates regarding Beal. The first is Oct. 28, the first day after their eighth game (at Detroit), when Beal is eligible to join the roster. The second is Nov. 6, two days after the Giants' Monday night game against Dallas, which is the team's deadline for deciding whether to activate Beal or keep him on I.R. for the remainder of the season.
Beal is eager to join 2019 draft choices Baker, Julian Love and Corey Ballentine to give the Giants a strong quartet of young cornerbacks.
Did he develop a chip on his shoulder with all his idle time?
"I think it's more than a chip now," he said. "That crack got a little bigger. It's just like a hole. I'll fill it in."
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