The New York Giants placed DE/SLB Mathias Kiwanuka (herniated cervical disk) on injured reserve.
“It’s painful for us to go this route with Kiwi, but we’ve exhausted all of our options,” Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. “What’s most important is for him to get healthy. We’re praying and hopeful that by next fall he will be back at 100 percent and playing for the New York Giants.”
Kiwanuka got off to a good start this season and posted four sacks in his three games played. Unfortunately, he’s on the final year of his rookie contract, so it remains to be seen if the team wants to re-sign him.
To take Kiwanuka’s place on the 53-man roster, the Giants signed CB/KR Will Blackmon, who played the previous four seasons for the Green Bay Packers.
“Blackmon had a very good workout for us and showed that he has recovered nicely from a serious knee injury (which limited him to three games in 2009),” Reese said. “We expect him to get into the mix quickly on special teams. He has experience and production as a return specialist and cover specialist. He also has played both safety and corner, which gives us some flexibility there as well.”
Blackmon (6-0, 208) was the Packers’ fourth-round draft choice in 2006, the 115th overall selection. He played in 32 games with two starts for Green Bay, totaling 20 tackles (19 solo), two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Blackmon averaged 21.1 yards on 66 kickoff returns and 11.0 yards on 47 punt returns and scored three touchdowns. His best season was 2008, when he played all 16 games with one start, had 17 tackles (16 solo) and averaged 21.0 yards on 55 kickoff returns and was fourth in the NFC with an 11.1-yard average on 36 punt returns, including two for touchdowns.
Blackmon has twice been named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. The first was in Week 14 of the 2007 season, when he returned a punt 57 yards for his first career touchdown and he recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone for another score in a 38-7 rout of Oakland. He was honored again in Week 1 of the 2008 season after scoring on a career-long 76-yard punt return vs. Minnesota.
In 2009, Blackmon played three games before suffering a season-ending torn ACL on Oct. 5 at Minnesota. He was in camp with the Packers this summer, but reached an injury settlement with the team on Sept. 5.
-- Adam Caplan