LB Rivers has already proven worth

September, 9, 2012
9/09/12
2:46
PM ET
Back in April, when the Giants sent a fifth-round draft pick to the Bengals in exchange for linebacker Keith Rivers, there was very little talk about the move.

But Rivers has already proven his worth to Big Blue, with seven tackles -- five solo -- in the Giants' regular-season opener against the Cowboys.

Rivers got the start in place of Michael Boley, who missed much of the preseason with a hamstring injury. Boley did play against Dallas, and had an interception, but he split playing time with Rivers.

"It felt good," Rivers said Thursday. "It was fun to be back, it was fun to be part of the action, I had a great time playing."

Rivers missed all of the 2011 season with a wrist injury. Prior to that, he started 33 of the 35 games he played in for the Bengals after being drafted with the ninth overall pick out of USC in 2008.

"Before the game I was pretty nervous, but was able to settle myself down and realize I’ve been here before," Rivers said. "I calmed down and made a few plays, but I also had some mistakes that I need to get corrected."

The biggest issue with Rivers? He's been injury prone -- and he did hurt a hamstring against the Cowboys, although he returned to the game afteward. Both Rivers and coach Tom Coughlin downplayed the injury on Thursday.

"I’ll be all right," Rivers said. Just taking it day by day."

"Rivers has played through this, he had it in training camp," Coughlin said. "I think he’ll find a way. He’ll find a way to get back in the fray."

Boley will likely re-enter the starting lineup against the Buccaneers in Week 2, but you can expect to see Rivers get some snaps as well.

"There’s plenty of room for plenty of people," said Coughlin. "We like to have as many linebackers (as possible)."

"I’m worried about getting better each day, and doing whatever it takes to help the team -- whether it’s helping [Boley] from what I see on the sideline, or vice versa," Rivers said. "I just put my hard hat on every day and go to work."
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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