Andre Brown sat in front of his locker last Thursday chatting lightly about the upcoming game against the Bucs when he was asked if he might get any carries this week. In the opener he never even saw an offensive snap in the backfield, and with Ahmad Bradshaw and rookie David Wilson ahead of him on the depth chart, it seemed as if it might be a while until he did.
"I don't know," he answered with a shrug. "I kind of have a feeling something big is going to happen this week."
He had no idea exactly how big. And even Monday, a day after replacing the injured Bradshaw and running for 71 yards on 13 carries plus a critical two-point conversion and the game-winning touchdown, not to mention catching two passes for another 19 yards, it was still sinking in.
"I'm just trying to remain consistent and humble," he said on a conference call Monday morning. "I just hope there's more to come . . . Me on the phone with you guys is just like, 'Wow!' I'm still taking it all in."
Brown's journey to that conference call was a meandering one. It started when he was a fourth-round pick by the Giants in 2009 and tore his Achilles tendon in that summer's training camp. He tried to come back from that injury and bounced around the league. He spent time with the Broncos, Colts, Panthers, back with the Broncos, the Redskins, and last year was on the Giants' practice squad.
Up until Sunday, his greatest contribution to the Giants had been singing that "I Got A Ring!" song on the flight home from the Super Bowl that went viral (he also "performed" the song at City Hall after the parade in Manhattan).
"They say things come to those who wait and I've been waiting for a couple of years now," Brown said. "Patience is the key and you have to let things play out and when your opportunity comes you have to take advantage of it. For the most part I would say I'm a patient person."
That helped on the field on Sunday too. Many of his runs required him to wait and allow blocks to be made and holes to form.
"All I had to do was be patient and some of the things just opened up and I just hit the hole," Brown said.
There's a chance Brown could be the Giants' starting running back on Thursday night when they face the Panthers. Not only are the Panthers one of the teams that gave up on Brown - there are so few that didn't, really - but he grew up in Greenville, N.C., and played college football at N.C. State. Coughlin was non-committal to that, but with Bradshaw suffering a neck injury and Wilson still not completely trusted and immersed in the offense, Brown seems to be the only logical candidate if Bradshaw can't go.
"It would mean a lot," Brown said. "I have a lot of family coming. But we'll find out Thursday, so I have no idea. I'm just going there to be ready for special teams, remain humble, and whatever happens happens."
"Being injured, being bounced around, I'm not going to lie to you, there've been times where I was like, 'Dang, is this for me? How is this going to play out?' " Brown said. "You just continue to go out there working hard and your hard work will pay off. I'm going to continue to work hard and continue to go out here and keep shocking the world."