The Giants have a new tight end on the roster.
Veteran special teamer and backup linebacker Mark Herzlich is switching numbers this offseason so he can be eligible to suit up for Big Blue on offense.
Herzlich, the sixth-year linebacker out of Boston College, will now wear No. 44 instead of 94.
“I needed to have an eligible number,” Herzlich told SNY at the United Way’s Gridiron Gala Tuesday night. He was honored with the Hometown Hero award for his community service.
Herzlich, who last played tight end in high school, was approached by the Giants coaching staff this offseason about adding depth to that position.
“It’s exciting,” Herzlich told SNY about the opportunity to take some snaps on offense. “A lot of times I’m playing scout-team tight end the last couple of years just because we were low in numbers and I was able to show I could be versatile in that aspect.”
The Giants upgraded the offense by drafting a playmaking tight end last month in Ole Miss’ Evan Engram to give Eli Manning another weapon. The Giants also signed free-agent TE Rhett Ellison this offseason.
It’s unclear how much of a role the Giants envision for Herzlich, but he’s ready and willing to do whatever the team wants.
“(I’m) learning the whole offense and figuring (out) where I can help,” Herzlich said. “That’s always been my thing. Wherever the Giants need me to help out, I’ll be there. Learning offense is the next part of that.”
Herzlich, 29, who overcame a rare form of bone cancer, which cost him the 2009 season at Boston College, signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2011.
The 6-4, 250-pound Herzlich has made his mark in the NFL on special teams. On defense, he’s started just 18 of 88 games during his six seasons with the Giants — none last year. He signed a new one-year, $ 855,000 contract, the Giants announced in March.