Keith Rivers didn’t make much of an impact in his first season with the Giants, arriving with fairly high expectations after a disappointing four-year run with the Bengals. Rivers didn’t do anything to warrant much interest in the open market and on Thursday he returned to the Giants, signing a one-year deal.
Rivers, 26, entered the NFL as a 2008 first-round pick out of USC, the ninth overall selection in the entire draft. He played in 35 games in four years in Cincinnati but battled through injuries, missing the entire 2011 season after wrist surgery. The Giants took a shot on him last year with a one-year contract but it did not turn into much of anything. Rivers this past season played in only 11 games, starting six. He was productive (44 tackles) when he was on the field but battled through nagging hamstring injuries.
The Giants have a glaring need for a middle linebacker but that’s not where Rivers fits in. He’ll be given a chance to win a starting outside linebacker job, possibly replacing Mathias Kiwanuka if, as expected, Kiwanuka shifts primarily back to a defensive end role. Jacquian Williams is the favorite to move into the starting spot vacated when Michael Boley was released. Last season’s starter in the middle, Chase Blackburn, is an unrestricted free agent and looking for more than a one-year commitment.


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