Aaron Ross has been to the other side. He was on a team where talking about the Super Bowl as a preseason goal was mere lip service. He played on a defense that never came together and never really had a chance to. He muddled through a two-win season that seemed interminable.
All of which is why he's the happiest person since Dorothy Gale to be home again.
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"Every team talks about winning a Super Bowl, but being here for five years, it's something that is embedded in you,'' Ross said Tuesday of his first tenure with the Giants that included two championships before he spent the 2012 season with the Jaguars.
"In Jacksonville they talked about it, everybody wanted to win the Super Bowl, it was just something that we knew we didn't have a chance [to do]. It's different. It's different. It's a little different.''
Ross was released by the Jaguars this offseason and quickly signed with the Giants. It's not very often that a player gets a second chance with the same franchise, but Ross has found that. And he seems to be taking advantage of it.
He's having one of the best training camps of his career, breaking up passes and making plays all over the field. He's had two interceptions in the last two days. He's healthy. He's comfortable. And, most of all, he's thrilled to be back.
"It feels like I'm refreshed,'' he said. "I'm happier. It just feels like a huge load is off my back.''
Ross and others have said that it feels as if he never left because he stayed so close to the players on the Giants, particularly the ones in the secondary.
"It happened so quickly, it seems like he's been here the whole time,'' Corey Webster said. "We never really missed him, always kept up with him, whatever he had going on.
"We have a really close relationship on and off the field, but I'm happy to have him back and hopefully we can pick up right where we left off and get back to playing that style of football.''
Where they left off was winning Super Bowl XLVI.
"He did pretty well when he was here,'' Tom Coughlin said of the two rings that the Giants won with Ross. "I like that thought.''
Ross said he doesn't feel as if much has changed. The playbook is the same. So are the coaches and most of his teammates.
But his role is certainly different. He'll most likely be cast as the Giants' nickel cornerback this season. It's a spot he might have bristled at earlier in his career, seeing it as a demotion, but after witnessing what a demotion really feels like by playing for the Jaguars, he's excited about the new responsibility.
"I like playing nickel,'' Ross said. "I like getting dirty a little bit.''
Having Ross play that spot would free up Antrel Rolle at safety so he wouldn't have to be in coverage, as he has been for most of the last two seasons. That would probably make Rolle the second-happiest person to have Ross back, behind only Ross himself.
"To come from an organization like this, it's first class,'' Ross said. "You have really high expectations for everything. And the players, the type of players that they bring here, everything is like you're looking to win a Super Bowl every year. I think you get spoiled by that.''