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Feeling great, Evan Engram looks to future

EVAN-ENGRAM-RUN

There are two things Joe Judge's Giants will not talk about: injuries and comparing past seasons.

For Evan Engram, those questions tend to go together. So, when he was asked about both during Monday's video conference with the media, the fourth-year tight end shifted the focus on the future.

"I feel great," Engram said. "I've had a very blessed off-season. I've been working my butt off in rehab and getting back. Right now, I am just going out and doing everything I can for the team and what practice is with the trainers. I'm not really worried about what all the other people are saying. I can only control what's in front of me each and every day. That's coming in, working hard during training camp and learning this offense and being a good teammate and a good leader."

Engram, the 23rd overall selection of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Mississippi, has played in 34 games (25 starts) in three seasons. In 2019, he was limited to a career-low eight appearances and six starts due to injuries. He first missed time with a knee injury, returned to play in the next three games, but then hurt his foot and missed the remainder of the season.

He spent much of the off-season rehabbing at the Giants' facility until the coronavirus pandemic forced plans to change.

"It was an adjustment," Engram said. "Just being comfortable up here with our facilities and our trainers and then everything going south and shutting down. Our training staff did a good job of making connections where I was at, I was in Atlanta. I got set up with a rehab facility not too far from my house, so I was able to kind of pick back up. They were able to pick up all the details that I needed, things that I needed, and we were able to keep things in motion. We definitely had to make some adjustments, but our training staff here did a great job helping me stay on track."

Despite the circumstances, they maintained an ambitious rehab, which left Engram with "no doubt" that he would be ready for training camp. The Giants will hold their first full practice later this week after ramping up with conditioning and position drills in the first phase.

"I had my mind set," Engram said. "I had a very strong, very aggressive rehab. Each and every day, I was trying to find ways to get better. Right now, I am blessed to be back out there running around with my teammates. I'm having fun running around catching the ball and learning offense and getting ready for this new season."

Although players don't like to talk about the past, the 2019 season left other people wondering "what could have been" for Engram statistically.

In the season opener, Engram finished with career-high totals of 11 receptions for 116 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown. The receptions and yardage totals were the highest for a Giants tight end since Jeremy Shockey in a 2007 game. Two weeks later, Engram caught six passes for 113 yards, becoming the first Giants tight end with multiple 100-yard games in a season since Shockey had four in 2005. On the first play of the second half of that game against the Buccaneers, Engram caught a short Daniel Jones pass and turned it into a 75-yard touchdown, the longest play a tight end in franchise history.

Now, he is playing in a system under offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens, who coached Jason Witten, one of the best-ever players at the position.

"I'm just showing up to work each and every day, diving into the offense, diving into film work to help learn the scheme, learn things," Engram said. "You see the impact that it has, you see the greatness in Jason Witten, the attention to detail he had and the success in the offense he had. I'm just trying to do my best to learn as much as possible and to pick up the offense as quick as possible."

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