Former Eagle Shawn Andrews Signs With Giants
By Lance Epstein
When guard Shawn Andrews is healthy, he is one of the best guards in all of football. The key word in that sentence is "when."
Unfortunately for the Eagles, Andrews was not healthy over the past two seasons and their line suffered. Andrews required not one, but two back surgeries and has been dealing with a battle of depression. Ultimately, this led to released by the Eagles earlier this offseason (March).
Many have questioned Andrews’ toughness to play through injuries, while others question his desire to just play the game of football. Either way, Andrews signed a contract with the hated New York Giants today.
So the question becomes how much of an upgrade is he to the Giants? Andrews has only suited up twice since the start of the 2008 season, but he is a Pro Bowl caliber player. At the height of his career, Andrews played 47 of 48 games, earned two Pro Bowl appearances (2005, 2007) and even recorded All-Pro honors (2006).
"Our personnel staff has been monitoring Shawn's progress for a while now," general manager Jerry Reese said. "He looks great and had a very good workout for us yesterday. He can play both guard and both tackle positions. We just have to take him slow for the rest of the preseason to get him into game shape. Shawn is very excited and grateful for this opportunity to play for the New York Giants."
"He's been here for a couple of days and he's had interviews with basically everybody," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. "People have spent a lot of time with him. I spent a good half hour with him yesterday. The quality of the football player that I remember from a couple of years ago is outstanding. Knowing that he went through some issues -- he had the back and some other issues that he had to deal with. But sensing now that he really is motivated and really wants to play. He's just a pleasant young man to visit with. He does indicate to you the kind of desire that he has to get back into the game."
While the Giants have seen Andrews on his good behavior, there is an entirely different side to his personality. Andrews can be a handful and that might be a huge understatement. He has a twitter addiction that he was more dedicated to then the Eagles team and was rarely dedicated to the game.
Another potential problem for the Giants and Andrews is he might not respond well to the tough love that Coughlin uses on his players. If he thought Andy Reid was a tough cookie, he is in store for a pleasant surprise.
However, maybe Andrews has turned the corner in career and matured. During this offseason, Andrews has busted his hump to make it back onto a NFL roster.
"I’ve put myself through various tests, and the only test for football really is getting on the field and just kind of going slow – a few plays here, see how the back holds up," Andrews said about returning after playing two games in two years. "I’m laying it all on the line. Not that I haven’t before, but this is it. So the Giants are going to get everything from me.
"My head is in the game. It’s always been in the game. I just had some setbacks there, and it was untimely and I heard every excuse for myself why the things happened back in 2008 that happened. We all go through things, and a lot of people I learned that point the finger and are probably going through a lot of things themselves and it just makes them feel stronger to point the finger at someone else. So I know that the God that I serve is a forgiving God, and he’s a God of second chances so why not give a guy a second chance who’s passionate about what he does."
Moreover, he has a chance to compete with Giants since guards Chris Snee and Rich Seubert are injured. Snee is having knee problems (but is much improved better) and Seubert breaking his hand (expected to be ready by week one). Additionally, he can also repay his former club this upcoming season (much like Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook) for what he considers an “untimely” release.
"I am. I am," said Andrews on looking forward to playing the Eagles. "I have to get their first. I’m not making this a ‘Shawn vs. the Eagles’ thing. I don’t have any bad blood towards them. It was just an untimely release. They wanted to go in another direction, and I just kept working my tail off. So here I am. I’m a G-man."
For the Giants, they have got themselves an elite talent, if he is able to get on the field, play and maul defenders. On the other side, they have a quirky guy that is not always interested in playing the game of football, questions his back and apparently still avoids practice.
"They’re just going to kind of ease me into this thing," he said. "Just kind of ease me into it and see what happens and see how the back responds. Just for me, knowing the difference of football form and the back hurting so hopefully I’ve done everything to prevent it, and we’ll see what happens. May God be with me.”