Thursday, September 9, 2010
Kinship unites Bradshaw, Jacobs
By Ohm Youngmisuk ESPNNewYork.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs' locker stalls are next to each other.
The two running backs sometimes grab lunch together and they play video games like "Call of Duty" online together all the time.
Bradshaw and Jacobs are like brothers and have been that way since Bradshaw's arrival in 2007.
Very little has changed between them over the years. And yet so much has changed between them this season.
The New York Giants failed to produce a 1,000-yard rusher in 2009.
Little brother has usurped big brother and Bradshaw is now the starting running back while Jacobs is the change of pace back who will come off the bench. The role reversal has been hard for the proud Jacobs to swallow.
But Bradshaw says nothing will change the relationship between he and Jacobs, no matter who gets the most carries or not. Bradshaw said Jacobs' issue is with management.
"Not at all," Bradshaw said. "We are still brothers. If he has a problem with the front office, it has nothing to do with me, which he's told me. We are still brothers. We still have the same relationship."
"It's a business," Bradshaw added. "Different people have different aspects on it. Obviously, he has a different aspect."
The past two days are a perfect example of how different things have become for the 5-foot-9 Bradshaw and the 6-4 Jacobs.
On Wednesday, Jacobs answered several questions but bristled whenever asked about anything pertaining to his new role or happiness. After saying it was tough to remain positive in the current situation last week, after failing to get a single carry in the preseason finale against the Patriots, Jacobs wasn't in the mood to discuss his situation on Wednesday.
He was asked how he shared carries with Derrick Ward two seasons ago and whether he envisioned another scenario like that this season.
"I don't envision anything," Jacobs said. "I come to work every day and work hard. Whatever happens, happens."
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But when he was asked if players have to put aside egos in a situation like that to make it work, Jacobs abruptly ended the interview and stormed off.
"You think I'm stupid, don't you?" Jacobs asked before leaving.
On Thursday, it was Bradshaw's turn to talk and he could barely contain his enthusiasm about his new role.
Make no mistake. Bradshaw admits that being called the starter "definitely" means a lot to him.
"That is what I play the game for, I have worked hard these first three years, and going into my fourth year, I felt like I deserved it," Bradshaw said. "I am going to take pride in it and take advantage of it."
Last season, both running backs struggled with injuries as the Giants failed to register a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time after seven consecutive seasons. Jacobs rushed for 835 yards while banged up.
Despite playing with cracked bones in his feet and bone spurs in an ankle, Bradshaw rushed for a career-high 778 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns.
Both Jacobs and Bradshaw underwent offseason surgery and both came back to camp healthy.
Jacobs looked fast and showed burst in camp. But so did Bradshaw, who was able to practice fully after largely being unable to practice last season.
"I feel 10 times more better than last year," Bradshaw said. "I can't wait to see what they [surgically repaired feet and ankle] do for me this year. The way I felt over the summer and training camp, I felt excellent.
"I feel as confident as ever this year. Being the starter makes me even more confident to be out there."
Bradshaw is downright giddy about the upcoming season. And in his first start of the year, he hopes to show everybody that the Giants' running game is back. And who better to do that against than Carolina, which features one of the best rushing tandems in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Both gained more than 1,000 yards last season.
"Our running game wasn't where it was supposed to be last year," Bradshaw said. "This year everybody is dedicated to the run even more than ever just to get back to having two 1,000-yard rushers."
No matter what happens, one thing will not change and that is Bradshaw and Jacobs' brotherly relationship.
"If anything I tell him all the time we are going to do this together," Bradshaw said. "I can't do it without him. If he is not focused, I am always going to be there for him. We talk to each other like brothers and it is going to be like that forever."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.More from ESPNNewYork.com »