It was almost one year ago when Stevie Brown hit the turf at MetLife Stadium with a knee injury that ended his season for the New York Giants in 2013, as he tore his ACL while returning an interception against the New York Jets in the preseason.
A year later, Brown, now fully recovered from the ACL injury and surgery, is back on the field and ready to take back his starting job that he won in 2012 when Kenny Phillips went down with injuries and a starting job he would have had to battle Will Hill for if not for him being suspended for a third time in three years and eventually, lead to his release.
But because Hill is now gone, Brown is the guy again playing alongside Antrel Rolle and as he mentioned this week during training camp, Brown has had to re-build his game in efforts to becoming the guy that broke out on the scene two years ago.
"You're forced to take a step back, and you have to rebuild your game as you're getting healthier," Brown said before Giants practice Thursday. "There are some things that I excelled at in the past that took a while to get back before I could just break-and-cut, break-and-cut. I had to start off with the little things — coming downhill, addressing myself like I was going to be in the run game, just basic football patterns rather than going out right away and getting in deep thirds and breaking off. I had to start by making sure I could come to balance, breaking down in the tackling game, shifting one way, shifting the other way, things like that. Just a big, gradual process to get back to where I am now."
Last year, Brown got encouragement and advice from his former teammate in Terrell Thomas, who tore his ACL twice in two years while with the Giants and was able to recover and play well in 2013; Thomas has since signed with the Seattle Seahawks. It's not uncommon for guys to bounce back and play again after tearing their ACL; Thomas was a rare case to come back from two in two years. With his rehab now in the rear mirror, Brown is full speed ahead and back to playing his game; the game that lead to him taking over as a starting safety two years ago.
"I'm able to do everything right now," Brown said. "No limitations to anything. I take all the reps that they want me to take and just go out there and do everything I need to do."
Sunday's Hall of Fame game; the first preseason action of the season against the Buffalo Bills will be the first live action Brown will see since that dreadful night last August in East Rutherford and it will likely be a breath of fresh air to be in pads again playing football instead of on a sideline watching or in a trainers room rehabbing a knee.
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Tags: Antrel Rolle, Football, Kenny Phillips, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Stevie Brown, Terrell Thomas, Will Hill