New York Giants running back Andre Brown wasnt supposed to even play Thursday. That he started against the Carolina Panthers, that he dominated the Panthers, now that was something.
Brown, the former N.C. State star, was told he would miss the first four games of this season, serving a substance-abuse suspension. He successfully appealed, explaining hed forgotten to fill out paperwork for Adderall, a drug used to treat narcolepsy and ADHD.
Then Thursday he got his first NFL start, and proceeded to thud the Panthers with two touchdowns and 113 yards on 20 carries in a 36-7 Giants victory.
The depth chart listed Brown as third behind Ahmad Bradshaw and rookie David Wilson. Bradshaw missed the game with a neck injury and Brown got the nod over Wilson, for his first start in a four-season pro career.
By halftime, hed already done a games worth of running, gaining 96 yards on 13 carries including a 1-yard touchdown. That was essential to New Yorks 20-0 halftime lead and a nearly 2-to-1 advantage in possession time.
The Giants scored on their first four possessions and crossed the 50-yard line all five times they had the ball. Whenever quarterback Eli Manning wasnt finding receivers, Brown was burrowing up the middle and breaking tackles.
Its not as if Brown was an unknown quantity to the Panthers; he played for them, if briefly, in 2010. He was on the squad a single week that November, not playing in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before being waived. Thats somewhat been the story of his career.
Brown has already been waived eight times and has passed through five NFL rosters. The Giants drafted him (fourth round) in 2009. Since then he has also played for the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Panthers, Washington Redskins and again the Giants.
Hes always been big (6-foot and 227 pounds) and fast (he was once clocked at about a 4.4 40-yard dash). But injuries have been an issue. He ruptured an Achilles tendon as a Giants rookie and various ailments have sidetracked him after he was a widely recruited running back out of Greenville Rose High.
Despite all the switching teams, he latched on with the Giants at just the right time last season. After the Giants won the Super Bowl last season, Brown started singing I gotta ring! which became one of the widely captured celebrations from that night.
He has a ring and now he has a start. Alls good again.