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Brandon Jacobs talks Saquon Barkley, Malik Nabers ahead of Dexter Lawrence’s charity softball game

New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs points during warm ups before an NFL football game Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs points during warm ups before an NFL football game Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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still looks like the imposing freight train of a running back that no one wanted to tackle from 2005 through 2013 on the way to two Giants Super Bowls.

He still looks like he could suit up for the Giants in short yardage, even, although he’s not confident he’d be able to avoid rampant fines if he played under the NFL’s modern rules.

“I would be broke if I played today,” Jacobs, 41, said Monday with a laugh .

Jacobs is one of many Giants legends gearing up for Saturday’s at Clover Stadium in Pomona, N.Y., where droves of Giants fans will connect with their favorite players of the present and past.

The event organized by Giants superfan Joe “License Plate Guy” Ruback raised more than $40,000 for charity in previous years with Landon Collins’ name on the marquee through 2019. Now they’re on track to surpass the $50,000 mark in 2024.

“There is going to be an incredible turnout for this year’s game,” Ruback said. “We’re on track to raise more money than ever. Giants fans love to support their favorite players and great causes, and these Giants legends love to give back to their fans.”

What connects players like Jacobs to Giants fans forever isn’t just , though. It’s the way he played. It’s the tone he set, the standard of toughness and Giant football that Tom Coughlin’s teams created and maintained.

“You cannot coach mentality. You either have it or you don’t,” Jacobs said. “And simply, each one of our guys had that mentality from the offensive line to the defensive line. We were gonna push you around, beat you up. Even when we lost the battle, we were coming back up to try to bully you again.”

Jacobs learned Coughlin’s standard on the first day of training camp as a rookie fourth-round pick in 2005.

“For us, our first day in pads in training camp, we stretched, and we went to ‘goal line,’” Jacobs said, his eyes lighting up. “Right away. Live. Let’s go. And we did it. We jumped in there.

“I didn’t even know I was the goal line back at the time,” he recalled. “[They said] ‘Goal line, get in there, Jacobs!’ I’m like, ‘Huh?’ That was the way we practiced twice a day. We had full pads and then helmet and shoulder pads, ‘uppers.’ And we did that for three weeks in Albany.”

Jacobs said that grind conditioned Coughlin’s Giants to power through pain.

“When we were hurt during those practices, we practiced,” he said. “So when we were hurt during the game, we played.”

Jacobs, obviously, was no one’s favorite player to face in practice, as former teammate Mathias Kiwanuka reminded Jacobs recently.

“Well, we changed practice on account of that,” Jacobs said. “My teammates — and I just learned this from Kiwanuka the other day — they were like, ‘We gotta tackle him every day at practice, and we’re going full speed. And that’s just not something we care to do every day.’”

Jacobs will use Saturday’s softball game as an opportunity to reunite and laugh with some of those old friends. But he also views it as a fact-finding mission on the 2024 Giants team.

“You’ve got a chance to mingle and talk with the current guys, see what’s on their minds and kind of give us an idea of what type of season we’re gonna have by seeing the way they conduct themselves,” he said.

“The team is fairly young,” he added. “So [you look at] the maturity, seeing how they talk, what their goals are, how they handle one another as teammates. Like let’s say Dexter Lawrence had this game and only 10 guys [from the current team] showed up. Well we’re gonna know right away that this team is about to get [blown] out every game next [season] because they’re not together, they don’t support one another.”

Jacobs added: “I don’t know how many guys Dexter has, but I’m thinking he should have a good bit of them. Landon used to get a lot of guys to come out. This is our first year doing it with Dexter.”

The former standout Giants running back also provided plenty of insight about Saquon Barkley, Malik Nabers, Daniel Jones and the Giants’ 2024 outlook. The full interview is available on .

On Barkley signing with the Eagles: “I loved it. The guy gave the Giants a lot from the time he was drafted. He did everything they asked him to do. He wanted to be in New York. he wanted to play with the Giants. He didn’t want to leave. That’s just what it is. So he ended up having an opportunity to get $12.5 million [per year] from our rival right down the street. I mean it sucks, but I’m happy for him. Because he deserved to make every dollar he could possibly make, because he’s put the hard work and dedication in to be able to do that.”

On switching Nabers in for Barkley as Giants’ top weapon: “I definitely have some reservations about that plan, and I love Malik Nabers. A guy who can catch the ball in space, run the hitch, [has a] big, strong body and has acceleration, can make a player miss, break tackles. He’s gonna be everything he needs to be for the New York Giants. However, you cannot compare him to a guy like Saquon Barkley who’s done it, who’s put up yards and really productive when healthy. I don’t think that’s an even change. I think it’s gonna be a year or two before Malik Nabers can — because Saquon Barkley is touching the ball 15-20 times a game. He’s gonna have more of an impact on the game than the wide receiver who potentially catches the ball four or five times a game.”

On Jones and the Giants’ outlook in 2024: “I still trust and believe in Daniel Jones. He’s got a great threat in Malik Nabers out there. He’s got a highly-talented receivers room now. What happens as far as the offensive line is concerned, that’s another thing. But I’m also tired of placing the blame on the offensive line. Every year we’re talking about the offensive line and how much better they gotta get in order for us to be successful. Well absolutely, we know that. However, this is who we have, and we can’t continue to point the finger at them every single time. I think our defense is pretty good. If we can stay out of the way of that injury bug, I think we’ll be OK.”

Go to to get more information on the celebrity softball game, buy merchandise or donate. 100% of sales will be donated to St. Christopher’s Inc., a non-profit in Westchester and Orange counties whose mission for over 140 years has been to service adolescents with special needs and unlock their potential.

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