Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 6/26/12

Expectations were extremely high for linebacker Keith Rivers when he was drafted in the first round (9th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He was supposed to help solidify the Bengals' front seven and rapidly develop into one of the most dangerous linebackers in the game. Unfortunately for Rivers, that didn't happen and a wide range of injuries have plagued his young career. As a result, Cincinnati waived the white flag on the former USC Trojan and traded him to the New York Giants for a 5th round pick earlier this offseason.

Now facing a fresh start in a new location with a new team, Rivers has been able to refocus himself and get himself mentally and physically prepared for the season ahead. And with no distractions or first-round expectations, he's been able to process and move on from the "bust" label that was applied to him in Cincinnati.

"I don't think it was a situation of being a 'bust.' It was a situation where I was injured a lot, and it was unfortunate injuries — some things were out of my control," Rivers said. "It happens like that, and hopefully the injuries are gone and we can move forward from there."

In New York, Rivers has only one goal in mind: to help Big Blue win in any way that he possibly can.

"Hopefully I can come in there and contribute and do whatever they need me to do, whatever position at linebacker they need me to be," he said. "I've been working really hard this offseason to get out there and make the plays I need to on the field and stay healthy."

As it will be for every other player on the Giants, health is going to be key. Rivers is very athletic and very talented, but that means absolutely nothing in the NFL if you can't stay on the field. However, if he can remain healthy and get a firm grasp on the style of defense Big Blue plays, the 6'2'', 245 lbs. linebacker brings a lot of versatility to a unit that's already very deep. And having too much of a good thing is exactly what Tom Coughlin and Perry Fewell want headed into training camp.

Also…

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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