Mathias Kiwanuka had opportunities to play elsewhere.
But the hybrid pass rusher/linebacker wanted to stay a Giant.
“I’m not going to get into where I was going to go,” Kiwanuka said Saturday. “At the end of the day, this was the best fit, the best chance, the best opportunity to get back to the Super Bowl.”
Head coach Tom Coughlin said Friday that Kiwanuka was going to see more time at outside linebacker than defensive end. And Kiwanuka is perfectly fine with that.
“It was discussed before I came back,” Kiwanuka said. “I knew exactly what I was getting into there. I had an idea of what packages they were gonna put together, because it’s fun to be out there with this group making plays.”
Justin Tuck, one of Kiwanuka’s good friends on the team, praised Kiwanuka’s “unselfishness.”
“Kiwi is one of those unselfish guys that’s going to come out here, work, and get better at whatever they ask him to do,” Tuck said. “I think Kiwi understands that it gives him the opportunity to show off his versatility and to help this football team. That’s where his football team is. He’s unselfish, and that’s why he agreed to do this. He’s proven what he can do at defensive end, but right now he’s taking a stance to do whatever the coaches think best suits this football team.”
Kiwanuka went on discuss how he views his role with the team.
“There will be a little bit of everything involved,” Kiwanuka said. “I think being out there, being able to play as a linebacker and then being able to rush as a defensive end is probably the best fit for me, because I learn the entire defense and I can be used in a number of different ways.
Kiwanuka says he’s a lot more comfortable now standing up as opposed to coming off the edge in a three-point stance.
“I had a lot of time to actually get used to it,” Kiwanuka said. “There were a lot of different things over the years that we did like back-pedaling (and) dropping and blitzing. So for me, it’s not that hard.”
Kiwanuka believes that the Giants defense “should be dangerous.”
“I think the versatility that I provide, along with the skill and the potential that the rest of the defensive line and the linebackers have -- it should be dangerous,” Kiwanuka said.
Kiwanuka was asked about what fronts he expects the defense to employ.
“You’ll have to wait and see,” Kiwanuka said. “That’s the fun part about it; you never how we’re going to line up, you never know how we’re going to attack and adjust to pass coverage and I think that’s the exciting part.”