In all the weirdness that was 2020, Giants receiver Dante Pettis saw a little bit of everything — two teams, two quarantines, one positive COVID-19 test, a lot of time away from humanity and, finally, two catches.
Pettis, whom the team claimed off waivers from the 49ers in early November, made his Giants debut in last Sunday’s loss to the Ravens and caught two passes for 33 yards. Both catches went for first downs on a day when the Giants’ offense couldn’t get much of anything going.
"It felt good to just be a part of the team and contribute," Pettis said Friday. "It’s been a while since that had been a thing. I wish we would have been able to get the win, but it did feel good to just be out there with everybody."
Pettis certainly has spent enough time alone in his room. He said he needed to quarantine for a little less than a week when he joined the Giants on Nov. 4. After testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 20, he had to return to quarantine.
"The second one, when I actually got COVID, was a little more rough," he said. "I wasn’t supposed to work out or anything, so I was just in my room for 10 days. After about six days, I started to feel better, so I could walk around and everything, but I lost probably eight pounds. So when I came back, my body was a little weaker, and it took a while to get back up to speed after that."
The coaching staff has been impressed with Pettis’ development in his relatively short time with the Giants.
"I think his involvement in the offense has grown with his knowledge of the scheme and the system," coach Joe Judge said. "That’s been big. But obviously he has some athletic ability. He’s shown the ability to get open, to beat man coverage and find some holes in zones."
Judge said earlier in the week that the team works Pettis into the special teams unit every day in practice, adding to the Giants’ potential depth in the return game. In four years at Washington University, Pettis returned nine punts for touchdowns, including four as a senior.
"Dante obviously has a history of [punt returning] through college and somewhat in the league, so we’re going to work him all the time," Judge said earlier in the week. "We always want to improve our depth at those positions. It’s tough to find punt returners, it really is. It’s one of those positions you kind of take for granted, and when you don’t have one, everyone notices every week. That’s just something that’s a fact."
Notes & quotes: Tight end Evan Engram (calf), safety Jabrill Peppers (ankle) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (rib) were limited in practice.