One player flying under the radar as the New York Giants open their training camp is inside linebacker Blake Martinez, who missed the last 14 games of the 2021 season due to a torn ACL.

Martinez is back, albeit on a limited basis for now. He is a true gamer who had played in 75 consecutive games before the injury and is planning to resume his tenure as the Giants’ defensive captain this season after getting cleared by the team’s medical staff.

“I just kind of went through the offseason, the last 10 months working on my knee every day and just listening to the training staff,” Martinez told reporters on Wednesday. “I got the news yesterday that I was good to go and basically went out there and felt good today.”

Martinez is ready to go but will ramp things up slowly. Well, as slowly as he can, anyhow.

Lets’ not forget, Martinez was one of the league’s most active linebackers before the injury. His 680 tackles are the NFL’s third-highest total since he entered the league as a fourth-round draft pick out of Stanford by the Green Bay Packers back in 2016.

“For me, it’s just — I have no doubt for myself. Again, taking it one day at a time and then obviously today, everyone asked me, ‘Hey, are you pumped? You pumped? You pumped?’ I’m like yeah, just got to take it as the first practice. I don’t know, this was my first practice in 10 months now. It felt good, though,” he said.

Martinez will be the centerpiece of a defense that has been taken over by veteran coordinator Wink Martindale. The last two seasons Martinez called the signals for Patrick Graham, who chose to move on after head coach Joe Judge was fired.

“I think it’s just another challenge,” Martinez said of the coaching change. “Going into my seventh year, I think this is my fifth defensive coordinator or something like that. I’ve gotten used to going through those procedures. I know how they kind of attack it and just taking it one day at a time, same thing as my knee.”

Martindale will ask much of the same as Graham did out of Martinez. Both coordinators like to get after things but use different approaches.

“I think it’s aggressive,” Martinez said of Martindale’s scheme. “He allows the players to be in positions that they can thrive at and just once again, he trusts his guys to go out there and he gives a lot of freedom to maneuver around and communicate as a defense… I feel like both are different in their own ways. Both gave freedom but just different concepts, different ways of doing it.”

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