Safety Julian Love
Q: Do you think your holding skills got you over the top for your special teams part of the captaincy?
A: (Laughs) Man, I mean possibly. It's very possible. Obviously, as a guy who has played probably the most special teams snaps in this building, I'm excited about it. I've got a little bit of love from both sides of the ball.
Q: What does it mean to you to be a captain?
A: I'm not going to lie it means an awful lot to me. I've never been a captain in my entire life, and to do it for the Giants of all places at the highest level, it's hard not to get emotional about it. It's often that I feel like people have always wanted me to be more outspoken, wanted me to be the rah-rah guy, wanted me to be the muscle-head, all that stuff. But this team has appreciated me for staying true to myself. So, I'm extremely grateful.
Q: What do you feel like you have to do now? You get the 'C,' now how do you keep the 'C'?
A: Honestly, I just have to keep being myself. I'm someone who I feel like has been really team-first oriented, really selfless, a guy who has been given hands he's been dealt, and I've made the most out of all of them I've felt like. So now it's about keeping myself, staying true to myself, keeping the person I am, representing this team on and off the field. Opportunities have been given to me this year so far. And I've got to continue to seize it.
Q: You seem really touched by this.
A: (Laughs) Yeah, it's hard not to be. One person – just my wife – she knows that I've felt like I've always been the underdog at every level. At Notre Dame, I was poised to be a captain, and that's what was held against me for coming back. That was kind of what was held out for me – the opportunity – and I obviously declared for the draft. In high school I wasn't given it. It means so much. People in my family know how much it means to me.
Q: How much do you think that the respect you've sort of earned here is because of what you've done in regards to – you know they asked you to play cornerback, you went back to safety, you went back to cornerback at times, you played special teams. And they've really asked you to sort of bounce around a lot?
A: Obviously he (Head Coach Brian Daboll) announced the captains for the offense, the defense, the special teams and then – 'Julian.' I mean, you guys have seen it firsthand. I wouldn't want it any other way. That's been my story. I've been the guy that's been bouncing all over the place. People have pigeonholed me in a certain position in a certain way. I feel like I've just persevered, and I've been persevering. It's not something that ended, it's something that's ongoing right now. I've got to keep earning my way, but just me doing everything that I possibly could be, that's the root of the eight-year-old kid who's playing little league football. I just love playing football. I love doing what I do. I think that's where you get that passion for just not really caring what position I am. Just playing ball.
Q: Is this a strange day in the sense that so many guys got cut, you walk into your room, you've got three guys. Two of you are captains, the other guy changed his number. Was it an odd day?
A: It's a weird day. It's one of the saddest days in the year of football. Obviously, a lot of guys are waived or released or whatever, and dynamics change, relationships change. You build relationships with a lot of guys, and a lot of them end after days like this. Captains are named. Then (Safety Dane Belton) Dane's back with a number change. I did something similar my rookie year – changing numbers after preseason. It's a weird day. A lot of stuff going on. With all of that, we've got to keep the main thing the main thing. We've got a game to play in two weeks. We've got a game to win in two weeks. With all those emotions, you've got to lock in and execute when you're on the field.
Q: With all of you guys named the captains today, this is Daboll's first go-around as a head coach. How important do you feel like your group – your leadership group – is to him in terms of conveying messages to the room and whatnot?
A: I think it's very important. What you see first and foremost is it's a young group. It's guys who are still establishing themselves as players in this league, but I think that's what we realize that we can't be passive anymore. A lot of those guys from my class – like (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones), (Defensive Lineman Dexter Lawrence) Dex, all of us – (Safety Xavier McKinney) Zay's a little younger – but it's urgency. There's urgency to change this team and for the better, and I think that's kind of what you see with this group we have.
Q: What have you seen from Dane? It seems like he's probably going to have a pretty big role this year even though he missed all this time.
A: It's tough, it's tough. It's tough when you get hurt earlier in camp when it's starting to click for you. What he's done a great job of is staying locked in in the moment. So, even though he hasn't been practicing, he's standing right behind me. He's standing right behind Xavier, and sometimes we'll say, 'You make all the communication. You call everything,' just to keep him sharp because we know we're going to need him. We knew we were going to need him. It was good to see him out there. Obviously, he has the (red) jersey on or whatever. But he's going to continue to develop. He's a rookie, so he's going to make mistakes, but we want to get those out of the way early. So, we're really excited because he's also a great guy off the field.