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Alonzo Russell’s hustle saves TD, helps his bid for spot on 53-man roster

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Coach Pat Shurmur acknowledges Russell’s effort

Chicago Bears v New York Giants
Alonzo Russell (84) runs down Clifton Duck of the Chicago Bears on Friday night.
Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Alonzo Russell had just made a tremendous, touchdown-saving hustle play.

And he was angry.

“I was actually trying to get the ball out,” Russell said of his come-from-behind tackle of Chicago Bears’ defensive back I wanted to get the ball to get the two-for-one special, make the tackle and get the ball out. But I kind of timed it wrong. I was coached up by Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins) and (Alec) Ogletree. Next time, hopefully I’m not in the position, but I’ll know how to handle it better.”

Russell, from the back of the end zone, closed about 15 yards of space on Duck in a 75-80-yard sprint after the defensive back had intercepted Giants’ quarterback Alex Tanney near the Chicago goal line.

The good news about that play was how hard (Russell) … Zo Russell did a good job of getting the guy down and keeping him from scoring,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said.

“I saw him make a great catch,” said Russell, who was on the Giants’ practice squad last season until being activated for the final game. “I saw him get up and take two steps, and … I saw two offensive linemen and then I saw two blockers turn around and try to block for him, and I’m just like, ‘Oh no, we can’t let him take this all the way.’ That would have been 99 yards or something like that.”

Russell ran a 4.54 40-yard dash at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. He didn’t seem to have any doubts he could run Duck down.

“I ran track, so I wasn’t worried about that,” he said. “I have long (strides). As long as I get two or three steps, I can get going.”

Russell also forced a fumble in punt coverage on Friday night.

A wide receiver, Russell wasn’t one of the 14 Giants who caught passes on Friday night.

That kind of hustle, and those kinds of plays, are, however, ones that could help him find a spot on the 53-man roster.