When the Giants took North Carolina State RB Andre Brown in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, this is how we reported it. He was touted as the replacement for the departed Derrick Ward (Wind) as the contrasting style to Brandon Jacobs (Earth) and Ahmad Bradshaw (Fire). It never came to pass.
Brown tore his Achilles tendon in camp that August and landed on IR and missed the season. He was waived the next September and spent time with four other organizations in 2010: Denver, Indianapolis, Carolina and Washington. Last year, the Giants re-signed Brown, where he spent the entire season on the practice squad. His biggest contribution to the team was his “I got a ring” chant after the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI.
This year, Brown showed up healthy again to camp. He looked solid in preseason (sans some fumbles) and the Giants decided it was time to put him on the final 53. Good move.
With Ahmad Bradshaw and Da’Rel Scott both showing a penchant for getting nicked up and rookie David Wilson not quite ready to carry the load, the 25 year-old Brown has become the next man up. Yesterday, he finally got the call and didn’t disappoint. He rushed for 71 yards on 13 carries and gained 19 more on two receptions. Brown also scored his first NFL touchdown and a two-point conversion.
“I’ve been waiting for a couple of years now,” Brown said today. “Yea, patience is key. You just let things play out and when your opportunity comes, you just have to take advantage of it, so for the most part, I would say yea. I’m a patient person.”
The Giants are fortunate that he is. The way Brown is running, he is exhibiting the tough inside presence the rushing game has been missing for some time. And this could just be the beginning….
“I just needed a shot and took advantage of my shot yesterday and I don’t think it’s closure, though. I think it’s a beginning,” said Brown. “I played in a NFL game and I really contributed to the win that we had yesterday. I just think that it’s just the beginning and I’m going to continue to work hard and continue to go out here and do whatever coach wants me to do and be ready whenever my number is called.”
In order get that number called, you first have to sell Tom Coughlin on the notion that you can do the job. Then, he has to trust you. Apparently, Brown has done both.
“He did well. He did well for a guy that thought his role was basically going to be special teams,” Coughlin said today. “He played and played well and he was involved in some pass protection opportunities and did pretty well with that. There may have been one that wasn’t quite as well done, but he ran hard, he ran fast, he really had a chance to break a couple. I thought maybe he was coming out there with one of them and he caught the ball out of the backfield well and knew to get north and south and took care of the ball and I think for the first time he’s had that kind of exposure and play time, I thought he came through it well.”
Could we be heading back to the Earth, Wind and Fire days? Stay tuned.