Stevie Brown was a breakout star for the New York Giants in 2012 and a big reason why the team cam so close to making the playoffs that year. After being drafted out of Michigan in the seventh round of the 2010 draft, Brown played 23 games with zero interceptions in his first two NFL seasons with Oakland and Indianapolis.
However, while filling in for an injured Kenny Phillips two seasons ago, Brown picked off a whopping eight passes to go with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Heading into 2013, Brown looked like a solid piece in the Giants secondary, even if it would be almost impossible for him to create so many takeaways again.
Misfortune struck, though, when Brown tore his ACL in the preseason, forcing him to sit out the season. His absence allowed for Will Hill to make a name for himself at the safety position, but with Hill facing another suspension for drug abuse, Brown is right back in the mix to be a Week 1 starter.
"Will is one of my boys," said Brown. "So I'm just here to support Will and deal with whatever he's got to deal with, going through it."
The Giants secondary will look different to Brown than the one he played with in 2012. Gone are Corey Webster and Kenny Phillips. In their place are a new crop of free agents starring Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond, and Quintin Demps.
"You have never really heard about the Giants making that many moves but I'm not upset about it," said Brown, "It all looks like it's going to be for the best. As long as we can get in here and talk and gel together, I think we're going to be a great secondary."
The added depth may prove necessary if Brown isn't 100 percent recovered from his knee injury at the start of training camp. He's working with the coaching staff to make sure the injury is as small of a problem as possible. "Even this past month of rehab I've been doing I still get on the field at least once a week and do position specific drills. I go through everything, whether it's W [agility] drills, coming up in the run game. I've had that little time to try to build up a little bit more football cardio and get back in football shape," noted Brown. "Now with OTAs starting I have even more time."
When the real games start in September, Brown expects to be at full strength.
"If I'm not 100, I definitely expect to be high in the 90s. By when it happened to when I actually have to play again, I get a full year of recovery. You see a lot of people come back and they're effective off of seven months, eight months of rehab. I have a full 12 months so I expect to be pretty much close to 100."