It was pretty rough leading up to it. I really didn't get much sleep the night before. I didn't want to jinx myself so I didn't move much in my hotel. If someone called I'd yell at them and hang up. I was really anxious, more anxious than anything.
Some people came over to the stadium and saw a list or whatever it was. Then I called one of my buddies and my agent called me and he told me. He said he didn't know what the Giants exact plans were, but that I was going to be the third (QB). I got all pumped up, got excited and called everybody. I just couldn't believe it.
That game in New England was definitely a make-or-break game for me. I figured even if I played really well and made them think about me, that I still might not make it. I always thought it was up in the air, but thankfully I made it.
My first pass wasn't perfect by any stretch but it had a chance (Tim Carter couldn't come up with it). If I'm a right-handed guy it's probably easier for him because it falls easier for him and he doesn't have to go out of bounds to catch it. But thankfully Jamaar (Taylor) came back for me and got me a touchdown so I was happy.
I was so up in the air even after the game, because I could see them going both ways. I could see them saying we still don't know, but we'll bring you back and send you to Europe. I could have seen that happening. I would have been happy. I knew the interception hurt me, no doubt about that. But luckily I showed enough composure that they gave me the spot.
A year ago at this time I was so lost and so stuck in different things that being in the NFL was one of the farthest things from my mind. It was hard to even watch games. But now I'm so happy. I don't know if the smile has come off my face since I found out.
I was obviously a little concerned after I made it because of all the friendships that Jesse had. But when I came in, I got a lot of congratulations. A lot of the coaches, staff and some of the players came up to me. That was really awesome. I think everyone realizes it's a business; it was nothing personal.
I don't even think it was ever brought up between the two of us. I had this same situation in college where I was battling with a guy and we became better friends because of it. The unfortunate thing about being here is that one of us had to leave. I'm not saying we're going to call each other and be best friends, but there certainly is no hostility between us.
I think my daughter was the major reason I came back to the game and why I'm where I am right now. When you're not playing you don't have much money. I had bought a house and was struggling to pay the rent. I'm living with my fiancée and daughter. I just couldn't look them in the eye any more and say ‘sorry, Daddy's not doing well. He's not doing what he was put on earth to do.'
So I just stated working out with my buddies. Then when I got up here I talked to coach Coughlin. He's the one, single-handedly, that motivated me to do it. Just learning and talking with him was beneficial. He became more of a friend than he was a head coach.
To me all the stories about coach Coughlin aren't accurate at all. All you hear about is how much of a [tough guy] he is and how he doesn't let you do anything. In some aspects he has to be – he's the head coach of the New York Giants, what do you expect? But once you get to know him more on a personal level, he's a lot nicer and he understands. You can talk to him, maybe not always in front of a bunch of guys, but one-on-one he's really understanding.
Having his support helped so much. For coach Coughlin to even take a chance on me after what happened last year was huge. It sure helps to have him in your corner.
My weight is still going to be an issue. Until I'm down to 220, which I don't see happening, it's going to be an issue. It's something I'm constantly working on. I knew I wasn't going to make the team if I was that big, bottom line. I dropped down a lot. It's not that hard, it's just a matter of getting your heart rate up and burning calories.
I move better than what my weight says. I'm certainly not the fleetest-footed quarterback, but I can get around a little bit.
Now that I'm on the team, I have to prepare myself as if I'm going to start – that's really what you have to do. I have one of the smartest quarterbacks in the league to learn from. Other than his brother (Peyton) and Brett Favre, I can't think of anyone else I'd rather learn behind. I know I'm going to make mistakes, but my number one key this year is to make our defense better. If I can get in there and give them as good a look as I possibly can, get the ball out and let them catch a ball that's coming hard, that's good.
For a quarterback, I'm a pretty quiet guy. I'm not one to run around yelling and screaming. I'm around Tim (Hasselbeck) and Eli. None of us really get too excited about anything. I just go about my own business.
It is awesome being around Eli. I heard so many negative things about him when I was coming out of school – that he's bigheaded and he's a jerk. That stuff couldn't be farther from the truth. He's such an unbelievable guy. He's down to earth, and humble as can be. I absolutely love hanging out with and being around him.
My fiancée and I have our date set for July 8 of next year. Hopefully I won't be in Europe. Hopefully I can show enough this year that I don't have to go. July 8 is the big day.
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