Da'Rel Scott sent Giants fans into a frenzy two years ago as a rookie with a pair of long preseason.
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Since then, Scott scattered 11 carries over 15 career games with a stint on the injured reserve last season, leaving his 2013 roster status in doubt. Saturday's cut-down day came and went, however, and the running back remained to see his third NFL opener with the team.
"I just had to wait until the end of the day, and my brother looked up the final roster," Scott said after
Thursday's practice. "That's when my family started calling me. That's when I found out. Even when I didn't get the call all day, going into it, once I see my name on the roster, that's when it's final."
Now, as only the NFL can do, Scott goes from being on the bubble to second on the depth chart behind David Wilson after Andre Brown was placed on the injured/designated to return list on Wednesday.
The Giants travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys on Sunday night.
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"My mindset is I prepare myself as if I'm going to play every game," said Scott, whose season ended with a knee injury six games into last year. "So whether I'm third, fourth in the rotation or whether I'm first or second, I've got to prepare the same way just because of the situation. I have to make sure I'm on top of it. I make sure I prepare myself and just make sure they trust me in the game."
Before his career hit a few bumps, Scott was on the fast track to be in this position with his exploits in the 2011 preseason.
The Giants' former seventh-round draft choice ripped off a 97-yard touchdown run against the Bears before taking a direct snap off a fake punt 65 yards into the end zone two weeks later in the preseason finale of his rookie year.
Scott knows that fans have been waiting to see that player again.
"I kind of got that impression," the former Maryland Terrapin said. "I excited everybody in the preseason two years ago. So I felt as though that they are excited for me to get the opportunity. So I've just got to prove everybody right and let them know why they've been waiting for me."
The coaches have been waiting, too.
But they saw a glimpse of not only his speed but some physicality as well a week ago in New England. The Giants opened up a drive deep in Patriots territory in the third quarter and fed Scott three straight times until he plowed into the end zone on a six-yard catch-and-run from Curtis Painter.
Again, preseason success kept him around.
"It just shows you how tenuous things can be for all of us, but especially in our business," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. "You know what he did? The three times in a row where we gave him the ball and then that slip screen, I thought he showed as much of a physical presence in his running game that you'd like to see. You know he's got the speed and you know if there's a hole there, he's going to exploit that and he's got a chance, speed-wise, to go the distance, as he did a couple of years ago on that fake punt. No one's going to catch him. It's like David."