Frank Bellinger was cheering on his son with a group of Giants fans he met at a Las Vegas casino sports bar.
Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger completed a 13-yard reception, turned around, put both hands in his face mask and pulled out a bloody glove. He left the field on a cart, with red stains on his jersey and no helmet to cover his swollen left eye.
“I was worried that his sight loss would affect his day-to-day life [more than] – Will his career end? Elder Bellinger said. “But it didn’t last long.”
Within minutes, at halftime of the Oct. 23 game, Frank’s phone rang with an update from the Giants. The feeling of helplessness, 2,200 miles away from the terrifying sight in Jacksonville, Florida, subsided when she learned her son was on his way to the local emergency room. He tried to focus on the rest of the game, but his nerves didn’t settle until he got word that Daniel had broken his eye socket and could fly home with the team — a 14-hour drive, as in Plan B. not show. .
“I was surprised how quickly the Giants updated us on the phone,” Frank said. “He felt like he was in the best hands.”
Bellinger, wearing a new-look helmet-visor, played in Sunday’s 20-20 tie against the Chiefs, ending his season six weeks (missing four games) after his first injury. tied for five catches.
“The visor was like wearing sunglasses,” Bellinger said. “It helped me block out the sun a bit, but it didn’t make my vision too bad, which I was worried about. I’m definitely getting used to sweat and fog.
Unlike most players who return from the sidelines, Bellinger didn’t make the lineup with the field in mind, in part because his spectacular injury couldn’t be as severe as a muscle strain and in part because the Giants’ tight end depth is so thin.
“I knew I was going to play a lot and I was comfortable with that,” Bellinger said after going 64 of a potential 66. “Actually, I thought I’d be hesitant to think about the eyes and stuff, but that’s not the case at all. I felt confident – I hadn’t thought about all this.
Coming back from stomach twist injuries is in Bellinger’s DNA. He dislocated his hip during football practice in high school.
“Some of the freshmen saw it and threw up on the field,” Frank recalled. “But to come back and play so much for the Giants is the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. He looked comfortable – like he didn’t miss a beat – catching the ball.”
Bellinger experienced double vision during the layoff, which doctors believed was a normal symptom and would go away within six weeks. One of his first hospital visitors was quarterback Daniel Jones, hours after his surgery on Oct. 28.
“He’s definitely got the productivity that’s encouraging for us,” coach Andy Bischoff said. “He came in big steps. He’s smart, he’s reliable, and he’s shown great toughness. He’s what we want.”
When Frank’s emotions turned to anger and he openly questioned whether it was foul play, Giants general manager Joe Schoen personally called to insist that it was nothing.
The tight end never felt like a father and appreciated Jaguars quarterback Devin Lloyd’s apology via social media. Bellinger confided in his girlfriend and mother, both of whom had come to New Jersey to stay with him, eat meals or do other routine tasks, reminding him that this wasn’t his typical football injury.
“I couldn’t drive with one eye,” he said, “so they helped me run errands.”
Bellinger wasn’t able to practice until last week, and other conditioning has struggled.
“There was a lot we couldn’t do with my eye, just because of the pressure of lifting weights, and when I first came back we weren’t sure about the intraocular bleeding,” he said. “We took it slow at first, but once it was safe, we started ramping it up.”
“He didn’t take a mental vacation,” Bischoff said. Showed.
“As a rookie, I still have a lot to learn and improve,” Bellinger said. “If I try to be a leader in this team in the future, it will play a big role that I can help as much as I can even when I’m injured. Read the defenses and see how [they] “Adjusting to our different tight-knit staff, being mentally locked in was the biggest part of the ‘four-week bye’ for me.”