There are a few reasons for Ahmad Bradshaw to be looking forward to this season with the Giants. He is an increasingly productive player, better compensated and, perhaps most important, he feels like a new person.
Bradshaw, who splits time at running back with Brandon Jacobs, has played through pain the last few seasons. The problem was fractures in his feet. Bradshaw had three surgeries to implant screws to alleviate the pressure and repair ankle spurs after the 2009 season. Even though he felt better, he didn’t get much of a break.
“It takes a toll,” Bradshaw said. “The screws I have now in my feet make it feel 10 times better but the fractures were just bad on my feet.”
He rehabbed during OTAs in 2010, and felt better last season. The NFL lockout gave him the sustained rest his body needed.
“It was a great thing,” Bradshaw said. “I got to spend a lot of time with my family and just rest and that was a huge thing for us.”
Last season, Bradshaw played all 16 games and had 276 carries for 1,235. It was a dramatic improvement over 2009, where he had 163 carries for 778 yards. Against Carolina in the Giants’ first preseason game, he had five carries for 21 yards.
Before training camp started this season, Bradshaw signed a four-year, $18 million contract with the Giants. With all the changes the Giants have made on offense, Bradshaw said the sluggish preseason game isn’t a cause for concern yet.
“We know what we can do, we know we need a lot more work and we’ll get better as it comes,” Bradshaw said.
And he’s ready for the grind.
“I just feel fresh and I feel young again,” Bradshaw said. “And I feel tremendous on my feet.”