The New York Giants selected Oregon guard Shane Lemieux in the fifth round the 2020 NFL draft because he reminded them of the type of player they had on the offense line during their most recent Super Bowl teams.
Lemieux began last year as the team’s starting left guard but never made it out of the Giants’ opening week loss against Denver. He injured his ailing knee and was eventually shelved for the season.
This year, with a new coaching staff in town, Lemieux was uncertain how he would be perceived. He no longer has to worry about that. He is back as the starter at left guard and has recently found himself taking reps at center in camp with Jon Feliciano sitting out a few days.
But Lemieux is a gamer. He just loves to play football. He’ll play anywhere the Giants need him, just like his predecessors.
“It’s been fun. It’s definitely a challenge. It’s something I’ve never done before,” Lemieux told reporters on Wednesday. “Wherever the coaches want me, I’ll go out there and do it — whether its left guard, right guard, center, tackle. Whatever’s best for the team.”
The Giants don’t have a natural center. Feliciano is really a guard as is Nick Gates, who is currently working his way back form a serious leg fracture. They know they need to find depth and, hey, why not Lemieux?
“There was a little bit of experimentation, do you know what I mean? I just — I never put my hand on the ball until the first day I got here,” he said. “It was more of a like, ‘Hey, let’s see if you can snap.’ But at that time, I was learning the offense, I was learning how to play center, so it was lot. So, they said, ‘Hey, just focus on guard for now.’ That was that.”
As for the knee, Lemieux insists he’s fine. In fact, he’s not even wearing a brace.
“I just don’t like playing with one,” he said. “We’ve had to wear braces in practice the last two years, so I’m kind of just done with that.
“(The knee) is good. It’s good. It’s just staying on top of my rehab, the stuff I’ve done in the off season and kind of make it right. Sticking to my routine. That was the biggest thing in this offseason was getting into a routine, making sure that my flexibility is all there, my strength is there, getting in the tubs and all of the recovery measures that I take.”