- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Prince Amukamara won't have to worry about any dips into a bucket of ice water in the future.
The second-year cornerback's teammates were thrilled to see him play with the aggressiveness, or swagger, that they had been clamoring for in Thursday night's win over Carolina. They were especially pleased about the personal foul for unnecessary roughness that he drew in what was his season debut.
Along the way, Amukamara, the focal point in the ice-tub controversy, also earned his stripes as the Giants played their third game of his sophomore year, marking the end of his status among the team's veterans as a rookie.
"No more cold tub," Giants safety Antrel Rolle laughed.
While his personal foul earned him recognition, Amukamara also registered a tackle and a pass deflection as the Giants bottled up Carolina's passing game. The cornerback -- who missed nine games during his rookie season because of a broken foot -- made his first start of the year after sitting out the first two games with a high-ankle sprain.
"I told a reporter yesterday -- I was joking, though, but I said I'm kind of glad that I got back because the video from the cold-tub incident doesn't seem like I have that heart of a lion, that fight in me," Amukamara said. "Hopefully guys will notice that, step back."
As the video of Amukamara getting dumped into the tub became national news, his defensive teammates begged for him to play with some fire. They wanted him to have that swagger on the field that teammates like Rolle and safety Kenny Phillips often show.
It also didn't help that the video of him being dumped in the tub showed him silent throughout it all, taking whatever was going to happen without putting up much of a fight. Some connected that with his demeanor and the lack of aggressiveness that his teammates had seen.
Thursday night, Amukamara put to bed any questions as he played tough and wasn't afraid to mix it up. He helped corral Carolina's passing game in his 43 snaps, which was nearly three quarters of the defensive action, and his penalty made his teammates happy since he showed he wouldn't back down.
"I think that was definitely one of Prince's better games," Rolle said. "I think he played with a lot of swagger. I think he played with a chip on his shoulder and more importantly he was aggressive."
Added coach Tom Coughlin: "He did OK. He did well. He hadn't played in a while and the play he made over the middle was a good play. That was a good football play. That's going to encourage him."
Amukamara said his ankle is less sore than he thought it would be and believes he's on track for a full recovery. He thought he played pretty well, getting more snaps than he thought, but he still wants to work on his technique. That includes knowing how to avoid getting a penalty.
"I just have to be smarter next time," Amukamara said.
Since injuries have limited his playing time with the Giants, Amukamara believes with more time on the field he'll continue to prove he can play with the fire his teammates want.
"I haven't been on the field and haven't had a lot of reps to show that," Amukamara said. "I'm sure with more reps I get the more they'll see it."