When S Deon Grant signed a one-year contract with the Giants this off-season, it came with the understanding that there were no guarantees other than he would be given a chance to compete for playing time on this football team.
So after weeks and months of showing the coaches that he’s still every inch a competitor and that after 11 years in the NFL, he’s still very much capable of making plays, Grant is still looking at the very strong possibility that for the first time in 144 games, he won’t be a starting safety.
“We’ll see,” Grant said when asked how he might feel if he isn’t in the starting lineup. “All I can tell you is I’m going to support my man. If Kenny (Phillips) is out there, I’m going to make sure he’s getting the best look he can get. But as far as me personally, we’ll see. That’s something I can’t answer right now.”
According to Grant, the answer might be easier if he believed that he was no longer capable of being a starter in this league. However, he doesn’t believe that to be the case.
“My goal was to come into the league and play and to start, and to start, and start and get to a point where it as time that I clearly couldn’t start any more. I’ve been doing that up to this point, so it’s going to be hard if I’m not starting, especially when I know I’m not a backup. If I knew I was a backup, then I don’t think it would be hard if I wasn’t’ starting.”
If he’s not starting, Grant said he’s not sure how he’ll react.
“I can’t sit here and give you an answer because I’ve never been in that position so I can’t give you an answer. I could sit here and lie to you, but I’m authentic. I’m going to support my man, and teach him everything I know and have seen, but as far as me personally, we’ll see.”
Grant said when he came to the Giants, he was intent on showing the coaches that he hasn’t lost a step. And to prove that point, he volunteered to do things during the spring workouts and practices that he said most veterans with his experience shun.
“I feel better than five or six years ago,” he said. “If you talk to the coach and they tell you the things I’ve been doing since I’ve been here, as far as playing at safety, playing (weak side linebacker), scout team, and special teams — and I’m talking about practice, minicamp, and OTAs.
“When you get to that age, a lot of guys pull it back," he said. "But I was eager to do that, because even if they tried to pull me back, I wanted to do it because I felt healthy and that I could be on the field.”
Further compounding his mixed emotions is the fact that he believes he had a solid preseason showing.
“I’m not going to say it was flawless, because there are always things that I feel like I could have done better, and there probably were some small mistakes that I made, but we didn’t get hurt off it,” he said, citing his holding call against Pittsburgh as an example of something he did that he wasn’t happy with but which didn’t hurt the team. “I always feel like I could have done something a little better.”
While Grant understand that football is a business, he’s still a competitor, and he agreed with the idea that as a competitor, it might be more difficult than he realizes to accept a backup role.
“You might be right,” he admitted, “but I don’t know how I’m going to feel. I’ve been trying to put myself in that position and knowing that he was taking the first (snaps) and seeing how I could accept it. But I’m trying to get comfortable with it – if that’s the case.”
LB Phillip Dillard (hamstring) and S Michael Johnson (personal) did not prctice today. C Shaun O'Hara (ankle/Achilles), CB Aaron Ross (foot) and LB Gerris Wilkinson (groin), were limited. LB Chase Blackburn (knee), DT Chris Canty (groin), and CB Corey Webster (groin) practiced fully.