Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 1/10/12

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: Chris Cooley #47 of the Washington Redskins tries to elude Chase Blackburn #57 of the New York Giants on September 13, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Chase Blackburn has been the Giants’ leading tackler the past four games, which isn’t too bad for a guy who was teaching middle school math seven weeks ago.

Blackburn was signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent out of Akron in 2005. He played six seasons with the team, recording 210 tackles, four safeties, and two interceptions. But after the lockout, the Giants declined to sign him, and he remained unsigned despite trying out for a handful of teams.

Unsure of his football future, Blackburn began teaching math at Sells Middle School in Dublin, Ohio. He was preparing for a future in teaching until finally getting a call from the Giants after they were hammered 49-24 by the Saints in Week 12.

The Giants had suffered a few injuries to their linebackers so Blackburn stepped in immediately and began contributing. He went from the classroom to the gridiron, intercepting likely league MVP Aaron Rodgers that Sunday. He had 7 tackles in the game, and he’s recorded 36 in six games, including a 9-tackle effort against the Falcons in the playoffs. Blackburn has also registered two safeties.

When we think of football players, we often think of a bunch of rich guys with fancy cars and expensive clothes, living in mansions and partying it up. While that’s the case for some players, there are many just like Blackburn who are trying out for teams throughout the season, hoping to get signed. Some of them have backup career plans like Chase, but most of them never give up the dream of playing professional football. Blackburn continued to stay in shape despite not playing the first three months of the season, and it has paid off.

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