It has been a memorable, if not always pleasant, couple of weeks for New York Giants placekicker Graham Gano.
- On Nov. 15, Gano kicked two fourth-quarter field goals to help the Giants defeat the Philadelphia Eagles.
- That same evening, the team announced that the veteran placekicker was signing a three-year extension that would keep him with the team through 2023.
- Two days later, Nov. 17, the Giants placed Gano on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
- Gano spent more than a week cooped up in his hotel room quarantining, even importing a kicking net so he could get in a little practice.
- Sunday, Gano returned to action by going 4 of 4 on field-goal attempts as the Giants edged the Cincinnati Bengals, 19-17.
“Man, it was rough. We go from the high of beating the Eagles and then finding out the next day I had Covid,” Gano said Sunday afternoon. “Our medical staff, our trainers and everybody are fantastic. Even our team helping me out throughout the week when I was sick, bringing food and things I needed, it was awesome. A bit of a roller coaster, but I’m happy that I was able to come back and play today.”
Gano said quarantine was “terrible.”
“I got so tired of being on my phone and on the computer or watching movies. I would sit and look out the window, just couldn’t wait to get back outside,” Gano said. “You know, there are so many people around the world right now struggling with the same thing, so I just feel blessed and fortunate I was able to come out of it and be fine. But there are a lot of people out there that aren’t so fortunate right now, so I feel like you’ve just got to keep praying for those people and I’m just happy that I was able to have good care around me and I was able to come through. I feel pretty good right now.”
Of COVID-19, Gano said he dealt with a “pretty aggressive” fever, along with body aches and a headache. He admitted to being “a bit fatigued” on Sunday.
Gano said Sunday’s pre-game was the first time since the game against Philadelphia that he had worked with long-snapper Casey Kreiter and holder Riley Dixon.
“Those guys are so good at what they do. I mean, our line and [LS] Casey [Kreiter] and [P] Riley [Dixon] are fantastic, they make my job easy,” Gano said. “It was a little different because I wasn’t able to kick with the team this week, so my first reps with the team since the Eagles game were today. That was a bit different, but fortunately I’ve been doing it for awhile and I’ve got a bunch of kicks to kind of go back on. I was confident in it, shook a little rust off at the beginning, but once we got that first PAT out of the way, it felt good from then on.”
Gano’s first field goal vs. Cincinnati was from 49 yards. He also made kicks of 40, 39 and 32 yards.
Gano took the blame for the 103-yard kickoff return touchdown by Cincinnati’s Brandon Wilson.
“That was all my fault. I’ve got to kick off better directionally – you know, I hit it down the middle of the field and that just puts the team in a bad position. I knew going off the field, I told coach that as well. I’ve got to put us in better position and at the end of the day, I’ve got to make that tackle, too. I thought I had him and just did a poor job tackling. I’ve made enough tackles in my career that I know what to do and I just didn’t do a good job there, so all around I feel like you could just put that on me. At the end of the day, I’ve got to have a better kick and I’ve got to make the play if it comes to me to tackle a guy.”
Gano said the three-year, $14 million extension he signed with the Giants was “such a blessing for my family and me.”
“Since day one being here, it just feels like a home with the Giants, it’s just awesome. The people from top to bottom, everybody is just fantastic, so it made our decision easy when I was talking with my wife and my agent. I’m just so excited to be here and happy to be playing football again,” Gano said. “Like you said, about a little over a year ago, I wasn’t sure if I was going to play football again after having the surgery on my femur, so it’s just a true blessing to be able to play the game I love and I love being up here and playing with this team.”