When the New York Giants traded a fifth-round pick for former No. 9 overall pick Keith Rivers, the immediate thought that popped into everyone’s head was how much of a steal the trade could be. But that comes with a major “if” factor. The pick can be a steal IF Rivers is able to come back from his injuries 100 percent.
“Uh yeah, I was the ninth pick in the draft,” Rivers said regarding his potential. “Anywhere near that and that [trade] is beyond a steal. It’s armed robbery.”
Rivers has dealt with his fair share of injuries over his four year career, but the latest was a wrist injury that kept him out the entire 2011 season. The Bengals brought in linebacker help to lessen the blow of his loss, and apparently were content in letting him go for a meager late round pick.
Rivers was a key part of the defense in 2009 and 2010, helping guide the Bengals to a division championship in 2009. He hopes to prove the Giants got a steal this season while helping the Giants defend their Super Bowl title.
“For me it is more about proving to myself I am who I was and nothing has changed. I want to prove to myself, ‘hey, I have been hurt, I want to come back.’ And whenever you get hurt, there is always a little bit of, ‘will I come back the same way?’”
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is excited about Rivers’ potential, but the team is definitely bringing Rivers along slowly. He is currently working with the second group as an outside linebacker, but Fewell has toyed with the thought of playing him in the middle.
“There’s no doubt about [his potential].” Fewell said. “I want him to have a little flexibility, saying, ‘I’ve learned this and I have to put it all together when I get to training camp.’ I have to think about how to approach that and how to do that so I don’t shatter his confidence.”
Hopefully the Giants did in fact get a steal; they and the fans have been starving for an impact linebacker since Antonio Pierce retired.
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