EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As Stevie Brown struggled to make a name for himself in the NFL the past two years, the 25-year-old safety never lost confidence in his abilities.
Oakland cut him, as did Carolina, and he had limited playing time in Indianapolis. But the seventh-round draft pick out of Michigan waited for his chance to prove himself.
“I knew once I got on the field I was not going to try to come off,” Brown said.
This season, Brown is finally making it hard for the coaches to take him off the field. He has been a pleasant surprise for the Giants, playing quite well since taking over for the injured Kenny Phillips the past three weeks. With Phillips doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, it looks like Brown will be making his fourth straight start.
“I’d say I’ve done my job,” Brown said. “I haven’t caused the team any harm. As long as I don’t do that, I feel like I’m doing my job.”
Brown was originally drafted by the Raiders in 2010 and played in 15 games for them that year, but was waived three times before being awarded to Carolina on waivers a year later. He lasted three days with the Panthers, and then latched on with the Colts. This offseason he had offers from other teams, including the Bengals, but ultimately decided to sign with the Giants.
“I liked it here. When I came out on my visit, it was a good opportunity,” Brown said. “Sitting upstairs talking to everybody up in management, talking to the coaches, a few players that I talked to when I came through, everybody seemed genuine and everybody had each other’s back. Everyone had one goal, and that was to win. That’s why I wanted to come here.”
While Brown got limited playing time the first three weeks of the season, he did record an interception against the Panthers on Sept. 20, and his playing time increased when Phillips sprained his knee against the Eagles on Sept. 30. Starting that day, he has played 248 of the team’s 258 defensive snaps (96.1 percent), including all the snaps the last three weeks. He's also continued his special teams duties on kickoff coverage.
Against Cleveland and Washington, he recorded interceptions that helped stall what seemed to be promising drives for the opposition. Brown has recorded 26 total tackles, three interceptions, three pass deflections and one fumble recovery in seven games this year.
Brown likely won’t remain the starter when Phillips returns from his injury, but he has certainly earned himself more playing time with the way he’s capably filled Phillips’ shoes these past few weeks.
“From the day he was here, he showed speed and power, worked hard, had a good attitude,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “Started on special teams, helped us on special teams. He’s just gotten better.”