The love-hate relationship in New York isn’t only by way of the media; it’s with many of the fickle fans too. It remains a metropolis where it’s hard to be understood no matter how blatant you and your actions are.
Since the last running back “bad guy” focus left in March with former New York Giants RB starter Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw has assumed that role. Slowly, he’s learning what his “brother from another mother” had to endure while in blue. Having passion (especially passion that isn’t somewhat corralled) is oft misconstrued in the city that never sleeps.
Bradshaw is a smaller guy (5’10”) with a huge heart. Even before this year, the 5’10” 7th-rounder out of Marshall has been heard in sound bites doing his best pre-game to motivate his teammates. The defensive side of Big Blue has claimed that they, too, feel his emotions and carry them onto the field and throughout the game. How can one not feel the energy expelled when he fights for every yard (most of the time) and then gets up, clenched fists yelling for more – or when he powers into the end zone, spikes the ball and then flexes his muscles? It can be quite contagious.
Granted, this past division rival showdown was a bit more. As viewers saw #44 and Head Coach Tom Coughlin bark at each other close to the sidelines, there was also the WR Victor Cruz helmet slap heard ‘round the world. That quarter of football was probably the most expressive ever for Bradshaw. Compare it to Jacobs’ helmet toss a few years back. In fact, it’s lesser in severity as the frustration involved didn’t accidentally involve innocent fans. AB just wants the team to win. His passion came out in a way unseen by the public eye, but the team that knows him accepts him.
"There's never been any question about Ahmad Bradshaw's toughness, his intensity level," Coach Tom Coughlin said. "He plays the game hard. You know, you like to have everybody play as hard as he does. He gives it everything he's got. And so, you want people to recognize that fact, but sometimes you do have to control yourself and control your emotions. And he's working on it."
Any question of toughness is ridiculous. Ahmad Bradshaw has played on two broken feet, swollen ankles and lets adrenaline be his game time painkiller of choice. He remains a constant cheerleader while the defense is on the turf, hurt of not.
Jersey wideout Victor Cruz has let their “incident” go:
"But it's all fine. He just wants the best out of everyone. On that specific play, he felt like I could've done more. I agree with him, and we hugged it out later on. We've all got to hold ourselves accountable," Cruz said. "Ahmad's a great person. He's a great running back for us. It's just a matter of getting up and fighting for that next play."
Other teammates chose to take a comical route while describing Bradshaw’s ability to be an emotive catalyst:
"He's like that in the locker room," said TE Martellus Bennett. "He's like that in lunch. He's like that in breakfast. He's like that in dinner. He's like that in the shower. He's like that in the steam room. He's like that in the training room. He's like that, if you're riding in your car, you've got to turn your music up really loud. Ahmad's just an intense person. He's a leader. Everybody leads differently. We have a lot of leaders in here. He's real. Ahmad is Ahmad. I guess if Ahmad was an adjective, other people would be like, 'I'm Ahmad-ing it.' He's just a great guy; he's like that all the time."
Fans need to realize that players are human and have that same type of remote control-throwing reaction/emotional outbursts coursing through them. The media has a job to make news out of minor matters, especially where the World Champions are concerned. This issue/non-issue is dead, but look for more of a hungry running back that won’t stop showing off what and who he is: A Giant at heart.
Photo Credit: Mike Gannon
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