Steve Weatherford has always taken pride in being a little bit more than the average NFL punter – he ran track in college, after all, and constantly reminds people that he’s closer to an athlete than they assume. As he tries to rehab from a sprained left ankle he suffered against the Lions on Monday, the first injury of his professional career, Giants fans might see some proof of that.
“I’m cut from a different cloth,” Weatherford said Tuesday, after spending all of the team’s practice in the training room. “I take good care of my body and I think I don’t necessarily need to train as hard as I do for the job that I have, but I think it will help me in situations like this as far as recovery and knowing your body well, knowing what it needs.”
Despite a fairly serious tweak, Weatherford was able to finish the game in Detroit, saving the Giants from having to scramble to find a backup punter. But Weatherford says he was just able to “get the ball off,” and while he’s optimistic about his recovery time, his status for this week is somewhat in doubt.
“I’m not going to tell Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin that I’m ready to go unless I know that I can help my team and I can be as good as I can be,” Weatherford said. “It’s progressing well. It actually felt better yesterday than it did on Monday night, [but] I would like to see a lot more progress happen in between now and Sunday. I would like to think that I could play a game tomorrow but maybe that’s just too much confidence or too much optimism.”
The Giants have to be crossing their fingers. Weatherford has been a rare bright spot over the last couple of years; he’s been arguably the Giants best player, regardless of positional value, and a key asset as long as Ben McAdoo’s West Coast experiment continues to struggle. Bringing a free agent in off the street on short notice to deal with the (less severe than they used to be, admittedly) Meadowlands winds isn’t ideal. Weatherford is aware of that, and seems to be almost willing himself back to the field.
“You don’t want to have another punter come in here that’s not used to this stadium, it’s not an easy place to play,” he said. “I’m going to do what’s in the best interest of the team, [but] I’m hopeful that I’ll be out there to join my family on Sunday.”