Kerry Wynn used to have some sizzle to him.
As a redshirt freshman at Richmond, he burst on the scene with three tackles, a sack and a tackle for a loss against Virginia in his first collegiate start at defensive end. And of course he celebrated, jumping around and dancing as defensive players often do.
Later that week, though, Richmond coach Latrell Scott pulled Wynn aside and showed him the video of his antics, which came in a 34-13 loss.
"You're just trying to teach the guys that when you make plays, you're really just doing your job," Scott, now the head coach at Norfolk State, told Newsday. "When you celebrate, celebrate with your teammates. You don't need to let everyone else know that you're doing your job."
That lesson stuck with Wynn all through college and in his first years in the NFL. Even now, as a starting defensive end for the Giants and a player whom coaches have called a key defensive lineman for the team, Wynn abides by that rule.
No celebrating. No dancing. Just do your job.
"That's his personality," former Richmond teammate and current Giants safety Cooper Taylor said of Wynn. "He's going to go out there and do his work and he's going to produce and that's what he expects to do. He doesn't make it a big deal when he makes a sack because he knows he's there to make plays. And that's what he does."
With veteran Robert Ayers Jr. sidelined by a hamstring injury, Wynn has started the last two games at defensive end for the Giants. He had 16 tackles in those two games and played more snaps than anyone else on the defensive line in each of them. "You know, I really like his motor," Tom Coughlin said. "The kid plays hard. And he's in the right spot and he's smart. He's a tough guy."
"I think Kerry Wynn has been one of our more consistent, dependable, physical, fast football players, and we've needed it obviously out there at defensive end," defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. "He's been great."
Wynn flashed a little last year when he was an undrafted rookie, showing up for the final five games on the game-day roster and recording 11/2 sacks. He worked hard in the offseason, telling people that his goal this season was to get on the field and never give the coaches a reason to take him off it. That was before Jason Pierre-Paul's fireworks mishap.
So far, his plan has fallen into place. He's likely to make his third straight start with Ayers still hampered, but even when he comes back, Wynn could be an established starter.
Wynn, with his quiet demeanor and non-flashy play, doesn't quite fit the mold of some recent defensive ends with the Giants and around the league.
"I'm not going to be the loudest guy," he said, shyly suggesting that if his voice were deeper, he might use it more. "I'm kind of a country boy."
Now that he's a starter -- and perhaps a budding star -- will that change? "Hopefully he doesn't get too cocky and start growing his hair or anything like that," teammate Jay Bromley said. "Then we'll know things are getting out of hand. We'll know he's changing. Don't you change, Kerry!"
There seems little chance of that happening, even if part of Wynn might wish for it to happen. "I promise you I'm not as boring a guy as I might come off to be," he said.
That may not be a bad thing. When Wynn's reserved nature was brought up to Coughlin this past week, the coach smiled. "I like 'em like that," he said.
Then Wynn's strong play was mentioned, and Coughlin kept smiling. "I like 'em like that, too."