Da'Rel Scott knows he missed an opportunity last season to become a regular contributor to the New York Giants' running back rotation.
Let's flash back to Wee 3 of the 2012 season. That was a 36-7 victory over the Carolina Panthers and marked a breakout game for running back Andre Brown, who carried 20 times for 113 yards, both career highs to that point.
Scott, however, also had career best on that day, although his numbers were far more modest. He carried six times for nine yards, more carries than the five he totaled as a rookie in 2011.
Brown suffered a concussion the following week against the Philadelphia Eagles. With Brown down and David Wilson not having earned the trust of the coaching staff at that point there were carries to be had. Only those six carries turned out to be the only ones Scott would receive in his second season. He had apparently suffered a knee injury of his own.
Instead of getting his chance to shine Scott watched as Ahmad Bradshaw carried 30 times against the Cleveland Browns and 27 the following week against the San Francisco 49ers. He was finally placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Bradshaw, of course, suffered his own injuries as the season went on and Brown broke his leg after Week 11.
"I hate to look back on it because it still frustrates me, but there was definitely a huge missed opportunity," Scott told me sitting outside the Quest Diagnostics Training Center lunch room recently. "But 'Dre [Brown] put the work in and he had the opportunity to be that guy when I went down. That's how the league is, it's just when you get the opportunity you have to make the best of it."
Has Scott, just 25 and entering his third NFL season, seen opportunity slip through his grasp? Scott obviously hopes not.
"Me getting hurt didn't help my situation, but I feel like they know what I can do, so I feel like that's why I'm still here," Scott said. When I get the opportunity I just need to show ‘em that I can be that guy. Once I show them that they can trust me I fell like the rest will take care of itself."
Bradshaw is gone, taking his troublesome feet to the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent. Wilson and Brown are considered the top two backs. Ryan Torain, a veteran picked up when injuries decimated the running back group last season, and seventh-round pick Michael Cox are also competing for a job. They all won't remain on the roster.
"Nothing's guaranteed. That's just gonna keep me humble and keep me pushing myself," Scott said. ""It's always open competition. I don't think anybody's safe. It's just a good competition between all five of us."
Scott has always been blessed with blazing speed. Whether or not he can out-run his competition for a job over the next month remains to be seen.
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