There’s a new wide receiver wearing number 13 for the New York Giants, but he’s not coming in with as much fanfare as the last big-name guy to wear that number.
Still, former 49ers second-round draft pick Dante Pettis has something to prove for the Giants. The Washington product caught a pair of passes in his debut for the team last week against the Baltimore Ravens.
Pettis was released by the 49ers in early November after catching 38 passes, seven for touchdowns, over his first two seasons. He requested a trade from the 49ers but they couldn’t find a partner, so they released him.
Pettis only dressed for five games and returned two punts and a kickoff before the 49ers called it quits on him this season. The emergence of rookie Brandon Aiyuk probably helped push Pettis out. Fourth-year man Kendrick Bourne also caught a career-high 44 passes this season.
In New York, he finally caught his first passes of the season last week.
“It felt good to just be a part of the team and contribute,” Pettis told reporters. “It’s been a while since that had been a thing.”
Head coach Joe Judge said Pettis’ involvement in the offense is growing with his knowledge of New York’s system.
“That’s been big,” said Judge. “Obviously, he has some athletic ability. He’s shown he can get open, beat man coverage, find some holes in zones.”
For Pettis, 2020 has been a far cry from 2016, when he caught 15 touchdowns in his junior season on a talented Washington squad. Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin and Bengals receiver John Ross III also played for the Huskies that year.
Pettis also took nine punts to the house over his four years in college,
“It’s been crazy for everybody, not just me. No one really saw any of this coming. There were certain things that threw me for a loop in particular with just the way the season started for me, getting cut and all that, coming out to New York,” said Pettis. “But I’m happy with how everything has turned out. I like being here.”
The 25-year-old also had to quarantine for 10 days with COVID-19 shortly after he joined the Giants.
“After about six days, I started to feel better so I could walk around and everything. But I lost probably eight pounds. When I came back, it was just my body was a little weaker. It took a while to kind of get back up to speed after that,” he said.
Now things are looking up for the second-year pro. After taking about two weeks to really learn the playbook, Pettis says, he’s finally starting to get more comfortable.
“The first week and a half was rough but after that, extra meetings and everything it kind of went a lot smoother.It almost felt like I was learning a new language for the first couple days. I had no idea what certain words meant and all that. But everybody was very helpful with trying to get me up to speed,” said Pettis.
“All the receivers too, if I was lined up, they checked in like ‘You good? You got it?’” he said.
In Week 17 he’ll look to make an even greater impact against the rival Cowboys.