Giants wide receiver Corey Washington makes a 4-yard touchdown reception...

Giants wide receiver Corey Washington makes a 4-yard touchdown reception against Indianapolis Colts' Qua Cox during the second half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Indianapolis. Credit: AP / AJ Mast

It's been only 31/2 months since he made a big splash in the preseason, but Corey Washington already feels like one of those "Where Are They Now?" stories. And he hasn't even gone anywhere.

The rookie receiver is right where he was when the regular season began, on the Giants' active roster waiting for his chance. While every other rookie who has been with the team since the opening week has had a chance to contribute, Washington mostly has been relegated to the role of observer.

After scoring six touchdowns in the preseason, enough for him to make the team as an undrafted player from Division II Newberry College, he has caught only five passes in the regular season. Four of those were in one game, late in a blowout loss to the Colts in Week 9.

The Giants have been ladling out hope and optimism in recent weeks because of increased production from their younger players, but Washington hasn't been able to garner even a taste.

"I'm not happy," he said Wednesday before the Giants were given a day off for Christmas.

Washington was very excited when he made the team, he said. But life in the NFL -- at least with the Giants -- has not been what he thought it would be.

"It's not," he said. "So come back next year, keep doing what I've been doing this season. Give a little more. Catch some more touchdowns in the preseason. That's all I can do."

Two weeks ago Tom Coughlin said he wanted to see Washington contribute more on special teams before advancing to a role in the offense. But Washington is not a returner, and he feels he has little chance to make an impact in the positions he plays. He chuckled at the idea that a lack of special-teams contributions is keeping him from playing in the offense.

"All I do on special teams is block," he said. "I guess I have to put them down on the ground, I guess. I don't know."

More likely the Giants don't feel Washington is ripe yet. His big moments in the preseason came mostly against players no longer in the league, and he is adjusting to the jump in talent from such a small college. When the Giants need receivers on the field beyond their starters, they're more likely to turn to veterans Preston Parker and Kevin Ogletree than Washington.

Washington said he is so frustrated by his rookie year that even if he were able to have a breakout game against the Eagles on Sunday, it would not change the taste in his mouth.

"Every time I get my opportunity, I embrace it," he said. "I catch everything. I don't know what it's going to take. I can only control what I can do."

Washington said he would spend Christmas on Long Island, visiting cousins in Brentwood. The last time he saw them was a few days before the final regular-season roster was announced in late August. At that time, they were asking a lot of questions while expressing confidence that he'd make the team. "They kept telling me," Washington said. "I was like, 'I don't know, man.' They were like, 'You're going to make the roster.' ''

For this visit, Washington said he was bracing for a new line of unanswerable questions. Family and friends want to know what happened. Why hasn't he been able to get on the field? How come his star collapsed when the regular season began? What good is being on the team if you're not on the field?

"People have been asking me," Washington said. "I just give them the shoulder [shrug] like, 'Don't ask me, I'm not the front office.' ''

In terms of 2014, Washington might have been better off if the Giants had waived him at the final cuts and he'd been picked up by another team. It could be hard for him next season to crack a potential logjam at the position with Odell Beckham Jr., Rueben Randle and the returning Victor Cruz. Washington, though, said he has no regrets about being a Giant.

He just wishes he could show them what he can do.

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