The requests continue to flow in, one after another as if there's not enough of Chase Blackburn to go around.
"It's been ridiculous, actually,'' Richard Katz, Blackburn's agent, yesterday told The Post. "He's a pretty popular guy. His tale is an incredible tale.''
The question is whether that tale ended with Blackburn starting at middle linebacker for the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI or continues into the 2012 season. The NFL free-agency signing period begins March 13 and the Giants haven't even contacted Katz, haven't expressed any interest in re-signing Blackburn, who was one of a handful of players who shined brightest of all during the improbable Super Bowl run.
It makes for a strange celebratory ride. Blackburn already has made numerous personal appearances - this week he was honored with a parade as a hometown hero in Marysville, Ohio - and is scheduled for many, many more signings and meet-and-greets.
"I'm asking 'Do you still want him if he's not a Giant?' and they're all saying yes,'' Katz said.
After coming to the Giants' rescue, Blackburn might not be welcomed back. After playing six years with the Giants , mostly as a reserve linebacker and top special teams player - he was that unit's captain in 2010 - Blackburn didn't get any offers in free agency and in late November was sitting at home with his wife, Megan, and their two young sons a day after the Giants were hammered on Monday Night Football by the Saints. In that game rookie linebacker Mark Herzlich, making his first NFL start, went down with a sprained ankle.
Blackburn was considering accepting a job teaching eighth-grade math. The Giants , after season-ending injuries to Clint Sintim and Jonathan Goff and a myriad of struggles with their first-year linebackers, finally felt desperate enough to call Blackburn back to work.
The rest is history. He intercepted Aaron Rodgers of the Packers less than a week after re-signing and on Dec. 18 moved in as the starting middle linebacker against the Redskins. The Giants went 6-1 with Blackburn starting and once again, he made all of the defensive calls in the middle of their defense. He had a 40-yard fumble return in the NFC title game in San Francisco and a leaping interception off Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, outmuscling tight end Rob Gronkowski for the ball in a pivotal change of possession.
Blackburn is once again a free agent and despite his heroics, the Giants haven't called.
"Chase loves being in New York with the Giants , that's all he knows and all he wants to know,'' Katz said.
Goff, coming back from reconstructive knee surgery, is expected to re-sign. Herzlich is considered a prospect at middle linebacker. The Giants are not viewing Blackburn as the answer at that spot, though he is just 28 .
"I would hate for them to say 'We can't have Chase Blackburn in the middle of the defense and take us to the Super Bowl' because you absolutely cannot say that's the case,'' Katz said.
Coach Tom Coughlin opted to promote from within for two key offensive positions on his coaching staff. Sean Ryan moves to quarterbacks coach and Kevin M. Gilbride replaces Ryan as the new receivers coach.
CB Terrell Thomas, after missing the entire 2011 season following surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, is expected to re-sign with the Giants .
"The talks with the Giants are going very well,'' Thomas said on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
WR Domenik Hixon, who missed the past two seasons following two separate ACL surgeries, is expected to re-sign if he passes a physical set for today.