Get to know the Giants' opponent for Saturday's match-up vs. Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Running Back Ahmad Bradshaw**
Q: You have become a big factor in the passing game. What has made it so successful?
A: I think it just a combination of things. Our offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, he opened the playbook up enough so Andrew Luck can find the open receivers. I think with Andrew Luck, and how good of a skill set he has, he looks to find the open receivers and my job is to get open and be a big part of the passing game. He knows when to pass and just run the ball hard when it is a run.
Q: Can you talk about the time from when you left the Giants to just finding what your niche is in Indianapolis and that journey?
A: Just last year, they took me in and I was starting to get acclimated with the offense. It was coming along and I had the neck surgery in October. When I left they let it be known that they wanted me to be a part of this team, I let them know I was willing to be. They signed me back in the offseason, just gave me their trust and I believe that they believed I would come back strong and healthy. That was just my push all offseason, just to get back healthy and improve myself, I started getting stronger. Once my strength came back, that is when I realized I wanted to play football again and wanted to stick with it. The summer came along, and training camp I started feeling good, just getting back to myself. It is just showing now how strong I have gotten and as long as I can keep it going.
Q: Were there some periods where you wondered, as the injuries occurred, whether you had it in you?
A: When I first had the surgery, there was a question, there was never doubt. It is neck surgery, it was spinal, I just wanted to take it seriously and I just had to sit back and realize what I wanted. I just started getting all of my feeling back in my arms, just after that I knew I wanted to play football again. I knew I wanted to be out there on the field and I wanted to be at my best.
Q: You've had some time to let it sink in for a while and think about why it didn't work out with the New York Giants. How much do you attribute that to the injury? Do you view it as the money part of the business, or the performance part?
A: It all comes in that conversation. Just with the Giants, before I left, I know it is a business, I know how this business goes, just being around, seven years at the time, or six years at the time when I left. I knew it was a business, and I know I gave everything I could to the Giants, injury-wise, and just being out there on the field. They got my all. When I left, I didn't know at first why, and I kind of sat back and thought about it being, like you said, business, money, and injuries. When I left I knew that injury was the question, and the neck was a big part of the reason they let me go. It wasn't a factor when it was there. I ended up getting hurt there and playing the whole season with a neck. Like I said, I gave it my all whenever I was out there, hurt or not. Saying that, I just felt I had something to prove at all times. Coming off of injuries, just showing the NFL I can be a reliable back in this league. That is just saying even coming out of college, I have always had something to prove until now, and it still goes on.
Q: Did it take you a while to get over that? The business side of it.
A: It didn't take long to get over it. You've got to realize at the time what they were going through. They had a first round draft pick in David Wilson, they had Andre Brown. Younger guys that they felt they can handle the task that I left. It didn't take me long to get over it, it just hurt me because I felt that was my family, that I was a big part of that team and I still felt like I had a lot of football left.
Q: When you go up and play against your former team like you will on Monday night, is there a little extra juice there?
A: Oh of course, that was family to me at one time and that was like home to me. Just to be able to go back home and be around old fans, and play in front of old fans of mine, and family, just to get back and see those guys, and be in that atmosphere, it gives you a lot. It makes me anxious just to be ready for this game and be ready to go.
Q: What is the biggest difference for you from a football culture standpoint?
A: It is real similar; it is two great organizations that want the same thing. They care about the same things and when I came over here, it wasn't a big difference. You had a good group of guys that had a lot of veterans in it and a lot of leadership. You had a lot of young guys that were making a statement. As in, Andrew Luck and a lot of different guys here, T.Y. Hilton, and those guys. It wasn't a big change in organizations, it just a different team, different state.
Q: What have been your impressions of T.Y. Hilton?
A: He is a great guy and he is a character off the field. When he is on the field, he is strictly business. He is a smaller guy who likes to prove his point and he uses his speed to do it. I think when he is out there on the field, he is tough to stop being as fast as he is. I guess as small as he is, he is tough to get his hands on.
Q: Having won Super Bowls with the Giants, what have you been able to bring as far guidance and advice? The Colts seem to be very close to being one of the better teams in the NFL. What have you been able to offer your teammates getting them on the right track?
A: Just the leadership I can bring to the team. At the Giants, I was known as the heart of the team. Here, they look to me for leadership, also like a spark plug, also I was known at the Giants also. I think the team looks up to me to get the team sparked up. To get them amped up for games and just a leadership of what I have been through, so much in the two Super Bowls and the experiences I experienced over there with the Giants.