The Giants cannot quit on Jon Halapio.
No matter how hurt Halapio gets, the Giants cannot resist bringing him back, whether it is Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur or now Joe Judge as the head coach.
Halapio, a center and popular player in the locker room, has returned to the Giants. He worked out for his former team on Tuesday and was impressive enough to sign a contract on Wednesday.
The Giants also signed wide receiver Johnny Holton out of the Tuesday workout. Holton is a 29-year-old with only 14 career receptions with the Raiders and Steelers. Holton is known for his work on special teams. The season-ending loss to injury of Cody Core increased the need for impact special teams players, especially at the gunner spot.
This is quite a comeback Halapio, 29, is fashioning, as he endured two serious injuries in the past two years. He started 15 games at center in 2019 but in Week 17 he went down with a torn Achilles tendon, an injury that often takes more than a year to heal. Halapio became a free agent and the Giants waited to see how his recovery progressed.
There did not seem to be an immediate need at center. Nick Gates looks as if he is taking command of the starting job, even though Gates has never before played the position. Judge said the competition between Gates and Spencer Pulley – an experienced center – is “scratch even.” Pulley, though, has been banged up and missed practice time this summer. Halapio has also played guard in his career and could add depth at both interior spots on the offensive line.
Judge was a special teams assistant in New England in 2014, when the Patriots took Halapio in the sixth round of the NFL Draft out of Florida. So, there is some connection there. Halapio never played for the Patriots – he was released in the final cut-down that year. He first came to the Giants in 2016 as a member of their practice squad.
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In 2018, Halapio won the starting center job, beating out Brett Jones, but did not last long. In a Week 2 loss in Dallas, Halapio suffered a serious injury to his right ankle and lower leg, ending his season. He returned to reclaim the starting job in 2019.
To make room on the roster for Halapio and Holton, the Giants waived OT Jackson Dennis and waived/injured DB Jaquarius Landrews.