Michael Hunter was so ready to make his NFL debut that his fiancé, Elise Crawford, flew to New Jersey from her home in Louisiana just to see it. The rookie cornerback had been promoted from the practice squad earlier in the week and was preparing to face Washington at MetLife Stadium.
Then Darian Thompson had to be sidelined with a foot injury and the Giants needed a safety more than a cornerback. On Saturday morning Hunter got the news that he was being waived. Andrew Adams, another undrafted rookie on the practice squad, was taking his place.
“They needed that position more, which I understood,” Hunter said Thursday. “They didn’t even have to come in and explain it to me.”
On Monday night against the Vikings, though, the Giants may need both of them. The two rookie defensive backs could be called upon to play critical snaps in a secondary that could be without four players who have started games this season. Thompson will not play, safety Nat Berhe is in the concussion protocol, and cornerbacks Eli Apple (hamstring) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin) may not be available. Even if they are, they could be limited.
“We don’t know how we’ll contribute, but we definitely have to contribute this week,” Hunter said of the jobs he and Adams could be thrust into. “We just have to go in and play our roles to the best of our abilities, whether that’s defense, special teams, wherever they need us.”
Neither has ever played a regular-season defensive snap, although Adams did play on special teams against Washington. You remember him as the guy who made the illegal hit in the fourth quarter that negated a blocked punt.
Adams could wind up starting at safety. He said he is excited for the possible opportunity. More importantly, he’s convinced he is prepared for it, too. “This is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” he said. “It’s a dream come true. Monday night I’ll be ready.”
It could be a chance for Adams to redeem himself from the personal foul that made a bad first impression on Giants fans. He spent time this week with his first cousin on his mother’s side, Jets running back Matt Forte, talking about the experience of his first game.
“He gave me words of advice and how to keep moving forward,” Adams said. “He said he knows football is an aggressive game. Just let it go, it was one play. Move on.”
Adams said he has. “It’s wiped out of my mind,” he said.
Hunter was told upon his departure Saturday that the Giants would bring him back quickly. He assumed that would mean a place on the practice squad again. But then Shane Vereen landed on injured reserve and Apple and Rodgers-Cromartie suffered injuries, and all of a sudden Hunter once again was in demand. The Giants re-signed him to their 53-man roster.
“Even though last week didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, it’s still a blessing to be a part of the organization,” he said.
Hunter hopes it’s for good this time. Or at least for a game. He said his fiancé and his parents are making plans to come up and see the next Giants home game on Oct. 16 against the Ravens.
The weekend wasn’t an entire bust for Hunter. Saturday, the day he was waived, was his fiancé’s birthday, so he got to spend some time with her in New York City. They also went to the game to root for the Giants, he said.
Still, he would much rather have been playing. After a crazy week of roster moves, he learned he can’t take that for granted. But he also learned that things happen every week in the NFL.
“Stay ready,” he said of the lesson. “Your name can be called at any time.”