First-round picks don’t get cut after their first training camp. The process of trimming the Giants’ roster from 90 to 53 players over the weekend, though, was stressful for Evan Engram.
“Those cut days I was on my phone hanging around seeing what was going on,” the tight end said of his first experience with the transition from preseason to regular season.
It means he is now on a team almost half as small as the one he was on a week ago, and about half as small as any he played on in college at Ole Miss.
“Man, I’ll tell you what, that was a crazy process,” Engram told Newsday. “That last week the tension was really high and everybody was kind of on edge.”
Engram made the cut, as he knew he would. Or was 99.9 percent sure he would. There still was that flicker of concern. He said he will remember that feeling and use it next summer.
“Honestly, to be good you have to have that mindset that you have to come out here and earn your job,” he said. “Now, after seeing it, after being in the locker room after the cuts, next year around training camp that’s definitely going to be my mindset: Go earn a job. Anything can happen and it’s a crazy business. You have to be a good pro and a good player. Everybody has to earn their spot.”
Engram did, and now it’s on to Dallas for the opener and his first true NFL game.
“I can’t wait,” Engram said. “I’m itching. Last week I didn’t do too much [in practices] because I wasn’t playing [in the preseason finale against the Patriots], so it definitely felt good to start getting the gameplan, getting on the film. It’s real, so it’s really exciting.”
Engram spoke about standing on the sideline a few weeks ago for the national anthem before his first preseason game against the Steelers. In college the team stayed in the locker room for that part of the traditional pregame festivities. Now, though, when he closes his eyes and visualizes what it will be like on Sunday night, he has a hard time coming up with words to describe what he thinks about.
“I can’t even explain it,” he said. “I don’t know what to expect. I know the national anthem will probably be crazy. In that stadium, Sunday Night, first game – it’s going to be wild. I can’t wait.”