New York Giants fans thought this day would never come. Kenny Phillips hoped it would, but was never sure. Deon Grant didn’t see this coming, either. At least not yet.
Phillips has been named a starting safety for the Giants, replacing Grant.
The Giants’ third year safety, almost a full year removed from microfracture surgery on his knee, was the starting safety opposite Antrel Rolle in the first practice to prepare for Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Panthers.
“It’s been my goal. It was my goal when I first came in here,” Phillips said in the locker room after practice. “I knew it was going to take some time. I knew we got a schedule that we’d have to keep up with. … For them to already have me listed as a starter, I must be doing something right. I need to go out there and continue to get more reps and work on my technique.”
Deon Grant, the starting safety all through training camp and the preseason as Phillips rehabbed from a knee injury, was supportive of Phillips but admitted he might not handle being a backup very well.
“On this level, it’s about establishing yourself, winning that ring and any personal goals you have,” Grant said. “My goal was to come into the league and to play and to start, and to start, and to start until it gets to the point where I can’t start anymore. I’ve been doing that up to this point. If it doesn’t happen, yeah, it’s going to be hard to swallow.”
This is great news for the Giants, even if Grant is not happy about it. Phillips was on the verge of becoming a star when he went down last season, and if he can approach that level again the Giants are a better team.
As for Grant, he knew the score when he signed on. He has to deal with it now.