The NFL free agent period officially has officially begun, and many NFL teams have already been busy trying to re-sign and cut players from their 2013 team. The New York Giants made their first offseason signing over the weekend, by re-signing linebacker Mark Herzlich.
Herzlich has spent his entire three year career with Giants, after signing as an undrafted free agent with Big Blue in 2011. During his tenure with the Giants, Herzlich has had his ups and downs. In his first season with the Giants, Herzlich was big contributor on special teams which helped him land the starting middle linebacker spot midway through the season. However, after a terrible showing as a starter, Hezlich lost the starting middle linebacker spot, and has since been only used on special teams and on defense during goal line or defensive packages against the run.
Before coming to the Giants, Herzlich was a standout linebacker at Boston College. During his time at BC, Herzlich earned First Team All-ACC honors and was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year after his junior season in 2008. He also earned First Team All-American honors as well.
Right before his senior year, Hezlich unfortunately received terrible news. He was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that forced him to sit out the 2009 season. Herzlich would return to the field in 2010 after being cleared as cancer free and earned the Disney Spirit and Rudy award for his courage and effort in his fight to beat cancer. Before his cancer diagnosis, many scouts believed Herzlich was a first round draft pick prospect and would be a solid NFL player. Since his battle with cancer though, he has not been the same player he once was and many believe its because of his lack of speed and strength he has after his cancer battle.
The Giants re-singing Herzlich gives them some depth at the middle linebacker spot. It also gives them a replacement at the starting middle linebacker spot if they don't sign any free agents, draft any linebackers or re-sign Jon Beason, who was the starting middle linebacker for the Giants for 12 games during 2013 season.
There are still issues with signing Herzlich because of his lack of speed or strength, but he is great special teams player and gives the Giants a good team player to have in the locker room. Herzlich also is a very determined and hard working player, who still believes he can become the same player he was back in college.