‘His CFL experience speaks for itself’: New York Giants’ assistant GM takes notice of ‘hard worker’ Nathan Rourke

Photo courtesy: New York Giants

Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke has made an impression on the staff of the New York Giants during organized team activities (OTAs).

“Hard worker,” assistant general manager Brandon Brown told Emory Hunt of CBS Sports on Thursday. “The first day he was here, he’s running extra gassers and sprints by himself, watching him through the office door. Happy Nathan’s here.”

Rourke was claimed off waivers by the Giants on May 7, which was too late to attend rookie mini-camp with the other quarterbacks. OTAs were his first opportunity to be around the team, though it wasn’t his first time at their New Jersey practice facility.

The 25-year-old worked out for the Giants in January 2023 during his extensive offseason NFL tour. In May 2021, he was invited to the G-Men’s rookie mini-camp as a receiver, though the team was under different management at that time.

Head coach Brian Daboll spoke highly of Rourke’s addition earlier this month, seeing him as a complement to incumbent quarterbacks Daniel Jones, Drew Lock, and Tommy Devito. Brown echoed those sentiments on Friday, citing the Oakville, Ont. native’s time in the CFL and preseason production last year as reasons he can help the franchise.

“Nathan’s CFL experience obviously speaks for itself,” he said. “Tracking him in Jacksonville last year and knowing that he can operate a team on the 90-man roster — whether it’s as a backup, third-string, fourth-string — whatever he’s called to do in the preseason, he has experience doing it. I just think the bulk of business speaks for itself.”

The six-foot-two, 209-pound QB finished the 2023 season with the New England Patriots and dressed for the final three games. He served as the primary backup for the team’s regular-season finale but was waived after New England selected two quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft, including first-rounder Drake Maye.

Rourke began the year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, completing 65.7 percent of his passes for 348 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions in three preseason games while running the ball 14 times for 39 yards and one touchdown. He was signed to the team’s practice roster after training camp and was activated for three regular season games, before being claimed off waivers by the Patriots.

Between the two clubs, the dual-threat passer appeared in six games and earned $519,668 USD in his first NFL season.

During the 2022 CFL season, Rourke completed 78.7 percent of his passes for 3,349 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while starting for the B.C. Lions. He ran 39 times for 304 yards (7.8 per carry) and seven touchdowns during 10 regular season games, including nine starts. The Ohio University graduate was named the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian despite missing half the season with a Lisfranc injury.

The Giants are slated to open their regular season on Sunday, September 8 when they host the Minnesota Vikings.