Giants' Brown savors new stardom

On Sunday morning, Andre Brown arrived at MetLife Stadium preparing to play special teams.

By Monday morning, the New York Giants running back found himself on a conference call, talking to reporters about his 71-yard rushing performance in place of the injured Ahmad Bradshaw.

"Me on the phone with you guys, it's still like, 'Wow,'" Brown said. "I'm still taken aback by all of it."

There's a chance that on Thursday night, Brown could make the first start of his NFL career against the Carolina Panthers. The Giants don't have much time before their next game. Considering the Giants kept Bradshaw out for most of the game against Tampa Bay with a neck injury, Bradshaw might not be able to play Thursday, although he did watch the rest of the game on the sideline.

The Giants do have rookie David Wilson. But when Bradshaw went down, coach Tom Coughlin went with the veteran Brown, who is ready to show what he can do. The Greenville, N.C., native admits the idea of making his first start in front of family and friends is amazing.

But Brown is savoring every carry he receives after bouncing around the NFL for four seasons, ever since being drafted in the fourth round out of NC State by the Giants in 2009.

"I'm not going to lie to you," Brown said. "It's been times when I was like, 'Dang, is this for me? How is this going to play out?' I'm going to continue to work hard and continue to go out here and just keep shocking the world."

Brown spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve after tearing an Achilles tendon in camp. After being waived by the Giants, Brown moved from Denver to Indianapolis to Carolina, back to Denver, and then to Washington before landing back with the Giants. During that time, he was signed repeatedly to practice squads and waived seven times before spending last season on the Giants' practice squad.

He won a Super Bowl ring last season, and then delivered the famous "I got a ring!" chant on the plane ride home that was recorded and went viral.

But Brown is trying to be remembered for something other than his catchy tune. And he gave the Giants a glimpse of what he can do on the field Sunday against Tampa Bay.

On his second carry of the game, Brown rumbled up the middle for a 23-yard gain. He had another 12-yard gain on the same drive, helping the Giants score their first touchdown of the game late in the second quarter.

In the fourth quarter, he had a run of 10 yards, converted a pivotal two-point conversion attempt that tied the game at 27, and scored the game-winning touchdown with 31 seconds left.

And prior to that score, he rushed for 9 yards but alertly went down before scoring to kill some more clock at the end of the game.

Running backs coach Jerald Ingram likened Brown to former Giants running back Derrick Ward in the preseason. The Giants like his ability to run hard and catch passes out of the backfield.

"I just needed a shot and took advantage of my shot yesterday," Brown said, when asked if he got any closure by finally receiving playing time after his travels around the NFL. "I don't think it's closure, though. I think it's a beginning.

"I played in an NFL game and I really contributed to the win that we had," he continued. "I just think that it's just the beginning and I'm going to continue to work hard and continue to go out here and do whatever Coach wants me to do and be ready whenever my number is called."

Coughlin did not have an update on Bradshaw's neck Monday morning, and would not say whether Brown will start if Bradshaw is unable to play.

"We'll just have to see where we are on that," Coughlin said. "[Brown] did well for a guy that thought his role was basically going to be special teams. He played well and he was involved in some pass-protection opportunities and did pretty well with that.

"There may have been one that wasn't quite as well done, but he ran hard, he ran fast, he really had a chance to break a couple," Coughlin continued. "He caught the ball well and knew to get north and south and took care of the ball. For the first time he's had that kind of exposure and play time, I thought he came through it well."

And even if he doesn't get a chance to play again on Thursday, Brown said he will patiently wait for his next chance.

"I've been waiting for a couple of years now," Brown said. "Yeah, patience is key. You just let things play out and when your opportunity comes, you just have to take advantage of it, so for the most part, I would say I'm a patient person."