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Antrel: Benching gave Ross his swag back

Defensive back Aaron Ross of the New York

Defensive back Aaron Ross of the New York Giants celebrates with teammates Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips and Mathias Kiwanuka after Ross intercepted an Eagles pass in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The Giants defeated the Eagles 29-16. (Sept. 25, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty

We always jump on the controversial things Antrel Rolle says during his Tuesday chats with Joe and Evan on WFAN. Today he kept his flamethrower in its holster and didn’t torch anyone or any topic. But he did, as always, have a few interesting (if not inflammatory) things to say.

One of the most compelling segments was his thoughts on Aaron Ross, who was benched last Monday against the Rams and came back to make two interceptions and play a very strong game against the Eagles. Rolle said he thinks that maybe the benching was the best thing for Ross.

“At that point in time, Aaron Ross, I’m pretty sure his pride was hurt,” Rolle said of the decision to sit Ross for a series in the third quarter. “A lot of things were hurt at that point in time. Which it should be because he’s a competitor and if his pride wasn’t hurt then you’d have to question his professionalism. You know, how much do you really love the game?

“Aaron Ross is a guy who has a lot of swag, he has a lot of attitude, and most of all he has a world of confidence. I told him in the Rams game when he came back into the game, I said ‘Ross, play with swag. That’s how you play. That’s who you are. Don’t ever lose it. That’s when you play ball.’ I was trying to talk to him about it all week, I know several guys have talked to him all week, and most of all he spoke with himself. He looked in the mirror and understood this is where I play my best game. I play my best game with attitude. I play my best game with swag. And he went out there and honestly, he played like I’ve never seen a corner play before. He played lights out the entire game, whether it was running, whether it was passing, whether it was reading and reacting, whether it was intercepting a ball, whether it was breaking up a pass, he played lights out.”

Could the benching be a turning point in Ross’ season? Heck, maybe his career?

“It definitely could be,” Rolle said. “Sometimes certain players need that for a reality check. I’m not saying that he needed it or he didn’t need it, but sometimes it happens that way. I was benched one time at the University of Miami and I told myself ‘Never again. Like never, ever will I let that happen again within my control.’ That was a turning point for me in my collegiate career. Sometimes it has to happen, it has to take place, and it did and I’m thankful that Aaron Ross showed up the way he did. I know he’s going to continue to show up because he’s that much of a competitor, that much of a great guy. Hopefully we keep this thing building, keep the same attitude and keep our swagger.”

Finally, just to change gears, we heard an answer from Antrel today that I never thought we’d hear. He was asked about Michael Vick’s comments after the game about officials not protecting him the way they do other quarterbacks. Here’s what Rolle had to say:

“I’m not going to comment on that,” he said. “I’m on an opposing team and he’s a guy who I have to compete against. I might be a little biased when it comes to that question. I’d just rather plead the fifth and not even comment on that.”

Stunning. Even his radio hosts were caught off guard by that one.

“Well,” gasped Joe Benigno, “that’s a little out of character for you Antrel.”



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