If you watched the first few games of the New York Giants 2012 NFL season, you may have been surprised to see #35 explode out of the backfield, surge through arm tackles and rumble for positive yards nearly every time he touched the ball. That's Andre Brown, fourth-year RB from North Carolina State.
At 6'0" and 227 pounds, Brown is every inch and pound a big-time NFL running back. Until now, he hasn't been given much of a shot. But thanks to a few early injuries in the Giants backfield, Brown got his shot—and he has made the most of it, probably his only legitimate chance to make a mark in the NFL.
At NC State, Brown recorded 523 rushing attempts for 2,539 yards and 22 TDs. But as a pro, he has bounced around trying to find his niche. The Giants drafted him in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, but he suited up for the Colts and Broncos in the 2010 season. Yet Brown persevered, knowing he had to be ready when his opportunity came, which it did following an injury to Giants starting RB Ahmad Bradshaw.
So far this season, Brown has 33 carries for 184 yards, an average of over five and a half yards per carry.
Brown's explosive strength, power and quick bursts are based in part on the solid foundation he built in the gym. "I came from a good high school where we lifted really hard," he says, "but when I came to NC State, it was more of the Olympic lifting."
Success in the NFL is as much about mental toughness as physical strength. Being mentally ready when the coach called his number was as important to Brown as the training that prepared his body for the rigors of running the football in the NFL.