The New York Giants placed running back Brandon Jacobs on injured reserve Tuesday night, ending his 2013 season. It's also possible that Jacobs, who will be 32 when the 2014 season starts, will retire, which would mean the move would end his career. Whether that's the case or not, a few words on Jacobs as a Giant are called for here.
In terms of this season, Jacobs was a surprise Week 2 signing after Andre Brown got hurt in the preseason and David Wilson fumbled twice in the opener. It looked like a pure depth move, but Jacobs ended up making a fairly significant contribution to the Giants' run game at a time when it was basically nonexistent. His best game was the Week 6 Thursday night game in Chicago, in which he ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. He injured his hamstring in that game, and hamstring and knee injuries have limited him since. He played in only two games since then, and while he ran for 75 yards on nine carries in the Week 12 loss to the Cowboys, he missed the past two games due to the knee and apparently can't get healthy enough to play this year.
This happens to running backs, of course, in their 30s, and Jacobs is a back who took a lot of physical punishment early in his career. If this is the end for him, there would be neither surprise nor shame in that. And while the Giants' season hasn't gone as anyone hoped it would, Jacobs clearly has taken personal enjoyment in being back. This has always been his NFL home. He played seven seasons for the Giants, and made a major contribution to two Super Bowl titles, before leaving as a free agent following 2011 and signing with the 49ers. He did nothing for the 49ers and was admittedly unhappy there, and when the Giants came calling early this season he dedicated himself to killing the workout so they'd see him as worth bringing back. He did, and they did, and it has been clear ever since that Jacobs (a) wishes he'd never left and (b) felt wonderful about being back.
As has almost everyone on the roster, Jacobs played hard and stayed upbeat in spite of the 0-6 start and the lack of realistic hope it engendered. He took a lead role when called on, and he quietly took a back seat to Peyton Hillis and Brown when the coaches decided that's what was best. Other than the disappointment of the team's season writ large, Jacobs' return-home story was a nice one. If all is in fact said and done, he'll have been a great and decorated Giant -- fourth in team history in rushing yards, fourth in team history in total touchdowns, the franchise's all-time leader with 60 rushing touchdowns and, of course, tied for first in team history with two Super Bowl rings. And I'll bet he'll forever be glad he got this one last season as a Giant.