Running back Andre Brown breaks through the hole at Giants...

Running back Andre Brown breaks through the hole at Giants training camp in Albany, N.Y. (Aug. 3, 2010) Credit: Jon Winslow

When you ask Andre Brown about his cuts, you have to be more specific.

There are the moves he makes on the field, the impressive changes of direction that have already caught the eye of the coaching staff in his second stint with the Giants. He has already shown a knack for stopping and starting, making little skips through the line of scrimmage, and being able to start out running left and turning a play into a big gainer to the right.

Then there are the other cuts. The ones he says sting him and not the linebackers and defensive backs. The ones where he was pink-slipped from NFL teams.

The Giants. The Broncos. The Colts. The Panthers, who signed him for just a few days. Back to the Broncos. The Redskins. And that was all last year. Each time he thought he was finding a place on the roster, thought he was making progress toward his dream of being an NFL running back, some defensive lineman would get banged up and they'd have to make a roster move.

"The last guy in was normally the last guy out," he said. "I learned that like six cuts ago."

He fell for it again with the Redskins. He worked hard during the offseason and thought he would be able to compete for a job this preseason. But once again he was whacked, just before the start of camp.

"Once Washington released me I started sending out job resumes," he said. "I was like, 'All right, I guess I have to go to Plan B, use my degree.' "

He even spent some time this summer, during the lockout, working for marketing firms and doing some public relations work for a minor-league baseball team in North Carolina.

Then the Giants called. The team that saw enough potential in him coming out of North Carolina State that they selected him in the fourth round of the 2009 draft. He'd ruptured his Achilles in training camp his rookie year and was a fraction of the back he was when he returned from the surgery in 2010 and did not make the team. This year, after his whirlwind tour of NFL cities to the tune of Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere," Brown is back in blue and feeling pretty comfortable about it.

"I was a little surprised but also I was like, 'This time let's do it right,' " he said of his second go-round with the Giants. "'Let's go out there and be in shape, let's not have any doubt and just go out there and run as hard as I can and do everything I can do.'"

It's working. Brown has been impressive in practice, and not just to outsiders watching practice.

"He's faster," Tom Coughlin said. "To me he looks faster. I think all his issues with his legs are past and to me he looks more explosive."

Brown said he worked in Florida during the offseason on regaining his burst.

"Last year just getting off of the surgery I just felt that I could run straight ahead," he said. "I couldn't make cuts like I wanted to. I'm a natural jump-cutter, I like to jump in and out of things, and I didn't feel that pop."

He's popping. And he's hoping that this is his last stop. Brown has a good chance to make the roster, possibly even beat out D.J. Ware and Charles Scott for the third running back job behind Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.

"It'd be good," he said of the possibility that his long journey could come full circle back to the Giants' roster. "To come back and be with my draft class and be around the guys who brought me in here and showed me the ropes, it'd be awesome. It'd be a storybook ending."

Or in his case, maybe just the beginning.

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