When the Jacksonville Jaguars released Aaron Ross in a salary cap move over the winter, it made sense for the New York Giants to want to bring him back into the fold, and he wound up being one of the very first free agents the team signed back in March.
Now, after just one season away from the team that drafted him in the first-round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Ross is loving life and loving being back on the Giants, where he has won two championships during his six-year career.
When Ross was with the Giants from 2007-2011, he was a fixture at cornerback, but his play did drop off, a reason why the team let him walk as a free agent and let him sign a three-year deal with the Jaguars. Now that he's back with the Giants, he's not expecting to start with Corey Webster and Prince Amukamara likely to assume those roles, and with Terrell Thomas vying to win playing time and maybe gain back his starting position, too. Ross is likely to compete and get the nickel corner spot for the Giants, which is according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, just fine for Ross.
“It was almost like a slap in the face if someone moved you into the nickel role," he said. “I like getting dirty a little bit.’’
The ego-check that Ross has gone through as a veteran is something that defensive backs coach Sam Madison has referred to as him accepting his role as a leader on the team and knowing he will play a big part in the secondary, both on and off the field.
“He seems happy, he’s comfortable with his role," Madison said. “He’s matured."
Madison remembers when Ross first entered the league as a rookie looking to make a name for himself while at the time, he was a seasoned veteran playing the role of veteran leader and established star who Ross would lean on for advice and support when needed. Now, six years later, it is Ross who is the one who is having the younger players looking to him for advice and leadership. Madison feels that it is something the 30-year-old has done a great job with and should continue to do well with as a member of the Giants.
“He’s taken his responsibilities on the football field very seriously," Madison said. “He’s finally matured and understands what it takes to become a professional. Last year I think it kind of hit him in the face, for him to come back, you don’t get a second chance, sometimes. Once you leave you’re gone. But he came back."
From the way Ross talks about his only season with the Jaguars, it wasn't an experience that he was fond of; one he referred to as a "paid vacation" once he was back with the Giants. Ross talked about how the Jaguars wanted to win, but knew there was no chance at getting to the postseason and carried that mentality around all season long, which was fitting because the Jaguars finished 2-14 in 2012.
The draw of playing in and potentially winning a third Super Bowl is what lured Ross back to New York and to the Giants, who welcomed him back with open arms and a one-year deal in the off-season.
The former University of Texas cornerback has 10 career interceptions and 247 career tackles in 78 career games; 65 of which were with the Giants.
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