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Short on linebackers, Giants re-sign Kelvin Sheppard and add Deontae Skinner

Kelvin Sheppard has a familiarity with the Giants after spending last season with the team. Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants needed some linebackers that were healthy and knew their system. They re-signed veteran Kelvin Sheppard on Tuesday afternoon after plucking Deontae Skinner from the Oakland Raiders' practice squad earlier Tuesday.

Sheppard played in 16 games last season for the Giants at middle linebacker. Skinner was also with the team last year and earlier this season.

Sheppard, 29, started 11 games at middle linebacker in 2016, when the Giants were a top-10 defense. He spent part of this summer with the Chicago Bears before being released during final cuts. He has not played in a game this season.

The Giants wanted to get younger at linebacker this offseason. They handed second-year player B.J. Goodson the middle linebacker job, but he has been hampered by injuries.

Goodson is currently sidelined with a high ankle sprain that could force him to miss his second straight game Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. Keenan Robinson (quad) and Jonathan Casillas (neck) are also dealing with injuries, leaving the Giants shorthanded at the position. Robinson and Goodson appear to be long shots for this week.

Thin at linebacker, the Giants allowed 51 points in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams this past weekend.

Sheppard and Skinner give them some immediate options. Sheppard has played in 93 career games. He had 47 tackles last season while playing mostly on running downs.

Skinner, 26, appeared in four games and made five tackles last season. The Mississippi State product served mostly as a special teams contributor.

The Giants also placed linebacker Nigel Harris (ribs) on injured reserve Tuesday.