Former New York Giants’ LB Chase Blackburn posted on his Twitter account that he’ll be leaving the Giants and signing with the Carolina Panthers. It is being reported that Blackburn will receive a two-year deal with the Panthers. This happens at the same time the Giants watched DE Osi Umenyiora sign a two-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, even though it was much expected they weren’t going to re-sign him.
Blackburn has been with the Giants since the 2005 season, when he came to the Giants as an undrafted free agent out of Akron. Blackburn had been a valuable special teams member early in his career, helping the Giants win Super Bowl XLII. Blackburn would later get his opportunity to play more on defense after the retirement of LB Antonio Pierce following the 2009 season.
Blackburn was truly the heart and soul of the defense. The Giants didn’t bring him back following the 2010 season, in which Blackburn thought his football career was over. However, the Giants re-signed him before their Week 13 matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Blackburn made an immediate impact, intercepting a pass from the league’s highest-rated passer in QB Aaron Rodgers in his first game.
Blackburn also had a key interception in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVI, helping the Giants win their second championship in four years. The Giants’ defense was abysmal most of the 2012 season, but Blackburn played decent in the middle. He continued to make plays and it was assumed the Giants valued that.
However, the Giants still found themselves in cost-cutting mode, trying to free up money to pay their younger stars in the near future. Therefore, the Giants were signing players they could acquire for cheap. One of those guys, LB Dan Connor, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys, is most likely Blackburn’s replacement. It makes sense from a financial standpoint. However, losing a guy with class and heart is never easy.