The early free agency period has welcomed several new faces to Seattle, including the addition of former New York Giants safety Julian Love. Here are a few things to know about the Notre Dame alum:
Fitting In: Team Captain
Over the last four seasons with the Giants, Love exhibited the leadership qualities on and off the field that will help him fit right in with Seattle. Throughout his four-year career, Love has had to make adjustments to his game and in his personal life to continue to elevate. After being selected by New York in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, the former cornerback made the transition to free safety. In his rookie year, the Westchester native lost his childhood friends, Joey Ramos and Tony Lemon to a tragic car accident just a week before facing his hometown Chicago Bears. Despite the Giants falling 19-14, Love nabbed his first-career interception in front of hometown fans - in the honor of his late friends.
Love’s progression through the years with New York didn’t go unnoticed, as he was named team captain before the 2022 season. Emotions overtook the versatile safety as he discussed the honor at the Giants training camp.
"I'm not going to lie; it means an awful lot to me," said Love. "I've never been a captain in my entire life, and to do it for the Giants of all places at the highest level, it's hard not to get emotional about it. It's often that I feel like people have always wanted me to be more outspoken, to be the rah-rah guy, to be the muscle-head, all that stuff. But this team has appreciated me for staying true to myself. So, I'm extremely grateful."
Giving Back: Reaching the Youth
Inspire Change is the NFL’s social justice initiative, dedicated to using the league's platform to create opportunities for youth across America. In 2022, Love and former New York Giant wideout Darius Slayton collaborated with the Far Rockaway Giants youth program, sponsored by the New York Police Foundation. The afterschool program balances fun activities with mentorship and community building with local law enforcement to strengthen relationships. Love was part of a group of Giants selected to travel to the Queens neighborhood to share encouragement for children in need - along with having some fun. The pair were joined by kicker Graham Gano in February in wearing specialized cleats dedicated to the Far Rockaway Giants program.
A Year For The Books
2022 was a career-year for the fourth-year safety, as Love recorded a career-high 124 combined tackles. Starting 16 games for the Giants, Love recorded four games of 10 or more tackles. In addition to forcing and recovering a fumble, the Notre Dame alum nabbed two interceptions, along with five passes defensed and three tackles for loss.
In addition to a career-best 70.9 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus for 2022, Love's 78.2 tackling grade marks a three consecutive year rise.
Love’s ability to provide run support as well as make plays in coverage make him a valuable incoming asset to Seattle’s defense. The 2019 Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist played the nickel corner at Notre Dame, before refining his skills and earning the starting free safety job for the Giants. But Love's position on the depth chart doesn't truly define his ability to roam the secondary at a number of spots. In 2022, Love played 1,363 snaps for New York, with 578 lined up at free safety. For 296 of those snaps, Love was lined up in the box; and for 170 snaps he moved to slot corner. On 52 snaps, Love moved down to the line of scrimmage on the defensive line.