Michael Boley averaged 82.5 tackles per year in his four seasons with Atlanta, and was a hot commodity on the NFL's free-agent market this winter. It's safe to assume, then, that he will eventually start proving he deserved the five-year, $25 million contract the Giants inked him to in February.
But he hasn't exactly gotten off on the right foot.
Boley had hip surgery on June 24 -- a procedure that came with an eight-to-10 week recovery period, putting his status for the start of the season in jeopardy. And now the NFL has taken the mystery out of Boley's Week 1 status, suspending the linebacker for New York's opener for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
Boley will be allowed to participate in the Giants' training camp and play in preseason games -- though his hip injury almost certainly eliminates the latter as a possibility.
Oddly enough, the league did not actually specify what Boley did to violate the PCP, but Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News speculates that the punishment stems from a count of domestic battery levied against Boley for a May 3, 2008 incident.
If that's the case, I'm not entirely sure why Boley didn't earn a suspension for Week 1 of the 2008 season, but that's all moot now.
Boley's absence will force the Giants to fill a void at their weakside linebacker spot when the Redskins visit the Meadowlands on Sept. 13. In his stead, New York can turn to either Chase Blackburn, who started eight games last season, or second-year man Bryan Kehl. The sleeper choice for the fill-in start is rookie Clint Sintim out of Virginia, who the Giants stole in the draft's second round.
New York's not exactly the place to be if you're failing to live up to a big-money contracts, so for Boley's sake, let's hope his impressive surgery-suspension doubleheader is just a blip on the radar before a strong Giants career.