Shane Vereen may have won a Super Bowl a little over a month ago and then signed with a team that hasn't made the playoffs in three years, but he doesn't see it as regressing.
"This is not a step down," the former Patriots running back said upon officially signing with the Giants on Wednesday. "If anything, it is a step up."
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Vereen did have plenty of nice things to say about our neighbors to the north. "This is a great organization," he said of the Giants. "I [was] fortunate enough to play in New England with another great organization." He also spoke well of Bill Belichick: "A lot of the stuff I learned there is invaluable, and you can't put a price tag on it."
But clearly he has bought into the Giants' culture, even if that has included a losing record in each of the last two years.
"I'm going to try to be exciting, an exciting player to watch," he said. "[I want] to try to be the best teammate I can be and be reliable more than anything."
The Giants bring Vereen into a crowded backfield that already had veteran Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams, who is coming off an impressive rookie season. They are hoping that Vereen can add something that was missing with those other two backs: speed on the outside and the ability to catch the football. He caught 10 passes in Super Bowl XLIX in February and has caught 99 passes in the last two years.
Vereen is widely considered one of the top third-down backs in the NFL.
"I think it is just a role I have always felt comfortable in," he said. "It has always been a role I have been tagged for. I had to learn how to do that to get on the field. That is how it started in college. I had to pass protect to get on the field. I had to catch the ball to get on the field. When you are backed up against the wall and your only option is to get better, then that is what you work at."
Vereen said he won't be counting carries or worrying about how many handoffs he gets.
"I'm looking for an opportunity to get the ball in my hands any way possible, whether it is running the ball or catching the ball, anyway," he said. "I'm sure we are going to find ways to be effective with it."