Within a matter of days after being traded for a seventh-round draft pick, Beason, who will be an unrestricted free agent, has concluded that that he never wants to play for another team again.
"I don't plan on going anywhere," said Beason, adding with a laugh, "ever."
If Beason, who is rapidly climbing up the leader board in team tackles with 21 (ninth place) keeps on playing the way he has the since being inserted into the starting lineup in Week 6, he can probably rest assured that the Giants won't want him to leave any time soon.
Fall from Glory
Beason, a seven-year NFL veteran, knows that the business side of the game can be cruel. He has, after all, experienced that firsthand.
A former first-round draft pick (25th overall) of the Panthers in 2007, Beason quickly established himself as a force in the middle with straight seasons of 100 or more tackles.
In his rookie season, the three-time Pro Bowler finished second behind Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers in tackles for a rookie, and was the runner-up in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting, losing to Willis.
Beason continued to terrorize opposing offenses with his quickness and speed in shutting down rushing attacks. Showing a tremendous ability to move sideline-to-sideline, Beason finished with 417 tackles, 4.0 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles in his first four years as a pro.
In 2011, things began to slide downhill for Beason, who suffered an Achilles injury and was placed on season-ending injured reserve on September 14.
The following season, with the Panthers having drafted Luke Kuechly in the first round of that year, Beason not only lost his starting middle linebacker job, but he also suffered a season-ending knee injury after just four games.
Then came the 2013 season.
Fully healthy, Beason gave it his all in trying to find a niche for himself on the Panthers' defense, but ultimately, it was a former Giant-Chase Blackburn-who beat him out for the starting weakside spot.
Beason said he understood the business side of football, and that he didn't take this demotion personally, nor did he demand more playing time from head coach Ron Rivera.
"If you're in the business world and you show up (ready to work) and you find there's a glass box with a lock around your cubicle, you showed up ready to work and everyone in the office wants you at your desk doing your job because they know what you can do, but for whatever reason, you're not allowed to work," he said.
"It's a different circumstance than opposed to being fired or if your employer tells you, 'We don't want you here.' So you do what you can, you listen to the doctors and the trainers, get healthy, and when you're healthy, they're like, 'Hey, we know who you are.'"
That's why, instead of throwing a temper tantrum when his snaps were reduced, Beason took the high road.
"I think I learned late Saturday night before the Giants game that they were going to start Chase, so I said, 'OK, do what you gotta do and I'll be ready to go,'" he said. "That's what we ended up doing, and we went out and won big."
A Fresh Start
With Beason no longer fitting in the Panthers' plans and the Giants on the lookout for an experienced middle linebacker, Panthers general manager David Gettleman, who spend several years as a football executive for the Giants, agreed to send the linebacker to the Giants in exchange for what was initially announced as a late-round pick.
Beason said he was all for it when told of the plan.
"Coach (Rivera) said, 'I don't know how to say it, but, hey, we're going to trade you, and it might not be a bad thing,'" Beason recalled.
"One of the first things out of his mouth was, 'Maybe you'll get the opportunity to play middle linebacker,'" he added, noting that there were no promises made and no conditions established as to where Beason would next draw a paycheck.
When he learned he was heading to the Giants, Beason began to become excited. He called Giants safety Antrel Rolle, with whom he played college football at the University of Miami, and Rolle excitedly told Beason, "Let's do (the trade)."
"It was getting the chance to get back to my roots, so to speak, which was exciting to me," Beason said of coming to the Giants, though he admitted that he didn't know initially if that would be the plan.
When Beason did show up on the Friday before the Giants' first game against the Eagles, he didn't know what to expect.
He soon found out that the coaches' requests of him were simple enough.
"I showed up and they said, 'Hey, we're going to put you at the Mike. We want you to get guys lined up and to bring energy.' So I said, 'OK.'"
A Team Player
Being a "team player" is probably one of the most overused clichés in sports. Many athletes claim to be a team player, but oftentimes, actions speak louder than words.
In Beason's case, he delivers in spades on the concept.
When he arrived to the Giants' facility, the incumbent starting middle linebacker, Mark Herzlich, was dealing with a toe injury that wasn't considered too serious.
Regardless, Beason said that he was initially reluctant to start throwing his weight around.
"My first thought was, 'Hey, I don't want to come in and step on anybody's toes cause I'm a new guy," he said. "It's midseason, and you just want to come in and do what you're told, so I did what I was told.
"All I wanted to do is come in, do my job, and lead where I can," he added. "Say, 'Hey guys, I've seen this before. The biggest thing we can do is communicate. If you see something pre-snap that I don't, alert to this, alert to that. Then, all of a sudden, we all are on the same page, and we're playing faster and physical together, and the athletic ability can really take over and we can make those big plays.'"
Leading by Example
As he's become more comfortable in the Giants' system, Beason is being recognized not only for his performance on the field, but also for what he's doing in the locker room.
"I think being a leader, first you have to go out and lead by example," he said. "Come early, stay late, and do your job.
"If people say I'm a leader," Beason added, "it's because I'm trying to do things the right way."
These are lessons that Beason learned when he was with the Panthers.
"For me, I've learned in my career that you have to be a team player," he said. "When you're a new guy coming in and you have success, you want the best for others.
"Young guys come in and you coach them up," he said. "It's a fraternity."
While some have opined that Beason's arrival is a big reason why the Giants' defense has looked better the last couple of weeks, Beason refused to take the credit.
"(We're) doing it together," he noted. "It doesn't change the recipe for success, especially on the defensive side of the ball. It's going to be doing your job and then once you do your job, playing with passion and purpose."
Once a Giant, Always a Giant
When Beason said that he wanted to remain a Giant, he was being about as sincere as a person can be.
To punctuate his point, Beason shared a story from Thursday's practice.
"I was talking to (special assistant and former Giants linebacker) Jessie Armstead, who charts plays for us, when he came in today," Beason said with a smile.
"I was like, 'Oh, hey, Jessie, what's up? When I'm done, I want a job like yours. Whatever it is you do, you're still wearing a uniform.'"
It also helps that Beason has taken to the limelight that comes with playing and living in New York, as well.
"So far, the city's been real cool, it's a great group of guys, and they've welcomed me like I was a draft pick," he said. "So I'm happy and I want to keep contributing."
Patricia Traina is a New Jersey-based, accredited sportswriter who covers the New York Giants for Inside Football and The Bleacher Report. She is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow her on Twitter @Patricia_Traina for all the latest Giants news and notes.
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