Finally, he has become a mainstay, an all-important cog in the machine.
Chase Blackburn always had a bag packed. Just because the New York Giants no longer wanted him didn't mean no other team would. For three months, he kept the suitcase by the door.
It's no secret that the NFL is a cold blooded business. Camouflaged by fun and glory, the chill can be hard to recognize. But players come and go, even as they believe their careers are just beginning to bloom. The great Paul Brown once referred to professional football players as "interchangeable drill bits."
That makes Blackburn's story all the more rare and inspiring. Players do get second chances. Those considered extremely skilled get more than one. Not many, though, rise from their couches in December to become the starting middle linebacker on a Super Bowl team, as Blackburn has this season.
Always around the ball, don't be shocked if he turns in a pick-six sometime tomorrow night.