Giants’ Bobby Okereke Talks Playing On After Damien Harris Injury

Bobby Okereke

Getty New York Giants' linebacker Bobby Okereke talked the challenge of playing on after seeing Buffalo Bills' running back Damien Harris leave the field in an ambulance.

Seeing Damien Harris leave the field in an ambulance was tough to watch for both Buffalo Bills and New York Giants players, including middle linebacker Bobby Okereke.

He was in on the tackle that left Harris needing medical attention late in the second quarter. The play was clean, but Okereke described conflicting feelings in the aftermath, per Dan Duggan of The Athletic: “It’s the dichotomy. You’re morally conflicted. The stretcher came out, but you have to go play football. It’s tough. You never want to hurt someone.”

Duggan also included an update from the Bills confirming Harris “is in the concussion protocol and has a neck sprain, but seems to be in good spirits today.”

The running back’s status is a relief after disturbing scenes that had echoes of previous injuries for some Bills players. Concern was shared by members of the Giants, but the game went on and both teams continued to play solid, physical football.

Okereke was arguably the best performer on the field, at least in a Giants uniform.

Players Understandably Shaken After Damien Harris Injury

It was Okereke who met Harris in the hole to stuff an inside run. No. 58 led with his shoulder to stand Harris up then complete the tackle with support from more Giants defenders, something shown by Sports Injury Central.

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Once it became clear Harris was hurt and needed help, some players were forced to remember another painful injury. Defensive back Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest after taking a hit when the Bills faced the Cincinnati Bengals on the road last season, per

Buffalo offensive tackle Dion Dawkins admitted seeing Harris laid low “brings PTSD. It’s hard. It’s really hard, man,” per Tim Graham of The Athletic.

Having to be reminded of such a distressing incident naturally had an emotional impact on players. Both teams had no choice but to re-focus once the game resumed.

Okereke was able to continue building on what was a breakout game in his young Giants career.

Bobby Okereke Had Breakout Game

The Giants paid Okereke $40 million over four years, with $22 million guaranteed in free agency last offseason. It was a heavy investment in a linebacker during an era where many NFL teams attach greater value to versatile safeties and nickel defenses.

Okereke has offered a reminder of the enduring value of three-down linebackers. He’d been one of the Giants most consistent performers even before the trip to Buffalo, but the former Indianapolis Colts’ starter was dominant at Highmark Stadium.

He was particularly effective in coverage, allowing two receptions and 11 yards, per PFF NY Giants.

Okereke’s effectiveness also extended to the running game. He was in on 11 tackles and made two run stuffs, according to ESPN.

One of Okereke’s best plays was this tackle for loss on Bills’ runner Latavius Murray at the goal-line.

Corralling Murray behind the line of scrimmage wasn’t the only splash play made by Okereke. The 27-year-old tipped a pass that was intercepted by fellow inside linebacker Micah McFadden. Okereke also forced a fumble from wide receiver Gabe Davis.

Overall, Okereke delivered the kind of active and productive performance the Giants hoped to get from their on-field signal-caller. His performances are getting better every week, matching the improvements of a defense that’s “allowed less than 300 total yards in two of the past three games. Created five turnovers and scored a touchdown in past two,” according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.

Okereke is leading the revival thanks to his superior athleticism and mental toughness.

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