Ryan Grant Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 16

(Are you a good mudder?)

I don't know. Coach Bennett said I've officially made the mudder club, but whatever the conditions are we've got to step it up.

(How did you react to the conditions during the Seattle game? Did you enjoy it?)

The conditions weren't that bad from a sense of what I had to do. We work on that pre-game warm-up, preparing yourself for the conditions, preparing yourself for the footing. You've got to know how to cut, make a little softer cuts, not as hard when you plant, but it really wasn't that big.

(Does playing the Giants add any juice to this for you?)

Not really. A little bit but to be honest with you just the game itself, the level and the stage itself of what we're trying to accomplish is enough energy and enough impact on the game.

(How often had you imagined this possible match-up when you were traded?)

You've got to take one game at a time, so I knew we were playing them Week 2 but I didn't know the extent we'd be playing them in the NFC Championship. But it's something special and I'm not going to take it for granted, just try to take advantage of the opportunity that we have in this game. It's big.

(How reassuring is it sharing the field with an experienced player like Brett?)

It helps a lot. I think the fact that we have this young team, guys unselfish, working hard, but to a degree we are inexperienced. The fact that we have in key positions leaders that are experienced and have been in these situations helps a lot in the stretch. Communication level goes up from them letting us know little things of what they're looking for and really just kind of keeping us on the same page and staying true to what we've done all season.

(Were you on an emotional roller coaster Saturday?)

I'm an even-keel person. I don't really get too high, too low, so the whole time I was saying it's a long game and I understand you've got to be able to stay middle ground when things are high, things are low, and I was able to do that.

(What were you feeling when you initially found out you had to come here?)

Just shocking, a little surprising just because I didn't think I would be leaving. But it's an opportunity and that's the way the NFL works, so I was excited about it and looking forward to contributing.

(When did you realize this might be a really good opportunity?)

When I first got here, just seeing the style of practice and the guys on the team. I really didn't know too many guys on the team but I'd seen how guys practiced and the work they put in.

(Do you ever talk to anyone from back home or high school? Are they going to root for the Giants?)

It's funny. Between my family and my friends, who are Giants friends back home, I've got a lot of people saying that for the first time they actually want to see the Giants lose, or it's hard for them to pick for the Giants this week, but I guess that's how it goes. The support level's been really high all season.

(How were you treated by the Giants star players?)

To be honest with you, really well. (Jeremy) Shockey, Jim Finn, I've hung out with all those guys. Amani (Toomer), Osi (Umenyiora). I'm from New York so a lot of times they were asking me things about the city, but the relationship in general from the team in New York is close. I think that helps with their guys playing together, playing hard for each other, and it helped through the stretch that they've built.

(Were you convinced you had a roster spot locked up in New York?)

I was basically told, yes, that I had made the team, given the heads-up that I wasn't going anywhere.

(Is that what might lead to having a little more juice for this game?)

No, not really. I don't take anything personal with that. I learned a lot. It was a positive. I'm happy for the guys that were able to do some things and had a great season. It's just a great opportunity for me now. I'm happy where I'm at, happy with this organization, happy to be a part of this team and really glad with what we can do.

(How does Michael Strahan saying he was upset that you were traded make you feel?)

It made me feel good and I appreciate the support that I've gotten from all the guys. I know when they found out I had been traded a few guys kind of said 'What?' and just their reaction (was) 'Why would you do that?' They didn't know and I guess they thought they didn't want me to go. But they understood how it works and the support's been great from them all season with me personally and how we're doing as a team. I'm pretty sure that'll stop Sunday, but I know it's nothing personal and we're competitors and I expect that.

(What were the circumstances of the accident where you hurt your hand and how did that change you?)

It wasn't anything dramatically changed for me. I kind of stayed true to who I was. It gave me an opportunity to take a step back away from football, from the physical aspect, but I tried to keep myself mentally intact football-wise and then physically I took the positive of, 'Well, OK, I won't be taking a pounding this year, so I can become as fast and strong as I can and just move that forward to next year.'

(Did the doctors tell you you might not be able to play football again?)

From the initial injury we didn't know, but going into surgery and after surgery they said I should be all right.

(Did you take real estate classes and help coach a high school team?)

Yeah, one of my friends was a high school coach and yeah, I just wanted to help him. I said, 'I've got a little bit of time.' I wasn't going that often but I was helping out every once in a while.

(What does that make you think about where you are today when you go back to the accident?)

Just don't take things for granted. I think sometimes a lot of people take things for granted from the most minute things to the biggest thing. I take one day at a time. It didn't change me from a sense of I'm a pretty low-key guy. I'm not really a wild type of guy. I always feel like I've been kind of grounded with the support system that I have, but just stay true to yourself and you never know what's going to happen. Take one day at a time.

(Did you fault yourself at all in the accident?)

It was a little freak accident. I don't feel like I was doing anything necessarily wrong from that sense. It wasn't something I was like 'Oh, man,' really beating up on myself. It happened. It was definitely unfortunate, severe, but I had to move forward. I don't want to glorify my story any different from anybody else's when people are injured in major different things and more horrific from what I had.

(Did you just slip on a wet floor, is that what happened?)

Yeah I just got bumped from behind but I didn't slip up. I just put my arm back to brace myself and I got cut.

(How can you stay even-keel this week?)

My family's pretty good. They don't let me get high (or) too low. If I get too high they'll pound on me, but the type of person I am I understand through all of this it's the most important game in my life, but it's a game in the sense of what I'm putting into it and what we want to accomplish. Why would we change anything from what we've done and what has gotten us here as a team? That would be silly to me to change anything of how we've gotten here, and that is being consistent, staying true to who we are individually as a player across the board. Guys on this team are really unselfish. I feel like that, and that's kept us grounded. And with the leaders on this team stepping up and explaining things to us, they appreciate the fact that guys just want to win no matter what it takes and are willing to give up the personal stuff.

(As a running back how does the cold forecast make you feel?)

Be a professional. It shouldn't be an issue, but I think taking care of your body and making sure it's warm is just part of the game. The elements are part of this game and I don't feel like it should be an issue with our team, especially with how we prepare.

(Did your family talk to you more about the 201 yards or the two fumbles against Seattle?)

My family's like coaches, so my father always is very critical on everything. They were once talking about that but they knew looking at my face they could see my demeanor. They know me confidence-wise, so they knew I was fine with that. They just knew from the offense we'd pick up the pace. But after the film they want to watch the plays. When they're at the games they feel like they don't get a chance to really watch the game, so I have to send film to my uncle and my father, show them film so they can save the tape so they can go and kind of yell at me for what I did wrong.

(Was your dad here for your birthday?)

No. He was out for a few. He came out for the Minnesota game, I think Carolina also and my family was out for Thanksgiving and my mother was out for Oakland, so they've been out for a few games.

(Has balancing your time been a challenge lately with your newfound fame?)

Not really a challenge. Time management has been big. The guys in the wonderful Packer (PR) department do a great job of keeping it balanced. As long as it doesn't compromise anything I have to do, whether it be film-wise, practice or taking care of my body or resting, I've been fine. I really make sure things are kind of cut to a limit and everything gets maintained.

(Would it be tougher to stay even-keel if you had a grudge against the Giants?)

How can I have a grudge? Like I said I'm excited for them and I'm excited for myself, and I understand how it goes. This is a business and that's how it works. It was nothing personal. There were no hard feelings towards the organization in New York. I take the positive out of every situation and there were a lot of things that I learned from there and I don't feel like, if I didn't learn that I probably wouldn't be in the situation that I'm in today.

(Are you still in touch with the guys in the Giants running back corps and how talented is that group to be able to trade someone like you?)

I'm very close to them. Matter of fact, it's funny, because I felt like some of the guys were calling me before they'd even taken showers after the (Dallas) game, but they had a great season. That running back corps, when I was there we always had confidence in all the guys that were there and that was the one thing they talked about is everybody step up and we always know we can do it and be that guy no matter when you get your shot. But across the board you look at that group and they're playing fast and I think everybody feeds off of how each group is playing, with how the D-line is playing all season, I know the defense plays off that. I know the offense feeds off of that, if the running backs are running hard, I know the wide receivers feed off of that, and that's big for that team, so we need to stop that short.

{sportsad300}(So when Tiki called it quits you guys thought you could handle the load?)

When I was there we took it kind of personal how everybody said that the running back corps went from one of the biggest sparks on the team to kind of the youngest and not really known, the unsure of the team, but it was something guys had confidence in themselves, knew they could perform and we pushed each other. That's what you want out of a group, guys that are going to push each other to work and have confidence in each other.

(Who did you talk to after the Giants' last game and what did they say?)

I spoke to Brandon (Jacobs), Osi, Justin (Tuck), I heard guys yelling in the background, (James) Butler. I talked to a bunch of them. Like I said, I'd been there for two years so I'm close with a lot of guys. They know my family, my family knows them. They're excited when my family's watching the game and they're excited for all the guys, certain guys and stuff like that. I'm happy for them. Like I said, they know come Sunday it's going to be work, we're competitors and that's what they expect.

(Can you describe your relationship with Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck, who was your roommate at Notre Dame?)

We weren't roommates at Notre Dame, we were roommates in New York and (he's) one of my best friends, real close from a support level. We helped each other out. He helped me a lot, especially the year I was out and I appreciate it a lot. I learned a lot from him, a lot of the little things defensive linemen try to do. I try to pick up every little thing from the sense of trying to block or help out certain things, but he's a competitor. He's done a great job for them all season, whatever they've asked them to do, versatile player, an all-around great guy.

(What made you and Tuck so compatible?)

It's funny. Being from New York and him being from a small town in Alabama I think we kept each other kind of balanced, but Tuck's a great guy, individual off the field, a real nice guy and works. He's willing to work and wants to do whatever it takes.

(What is it like running in the Rhino and Falcon formations?)

The way the fullbacks have been playing, everybody up front, it's been great. It's a little different, something you don't really see that often but we have confidence in what our two fullbacks can do lining up and across the board guys have been playing great, so it's been great in the sense that they can move bodies and get that push for me.

(Had you ever played in a backfield that crowded before?)

Maybe high school, when I was younger, when you could do that across the board, but not really.

(Have you been able to enjoy your newfound stardom?)

I don't really look at it as stardom. I think when people talk about LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) and all the comparisons, everything like that, I really want people to keep things in perspective. I don't really feel like I've done that much. LaDainian and all those other backs have done this year in, year out, day in, day out and they're much deserving of what they get. I'm excited to be a part of the team and I think the team's deserving of the attention that we've gotten. I don't really look at it like that yet. It's hard for me to look at individual stuff when my No. 1 goal is trying to get this win. Maybe after all it's said and done we'll look at some things, but I want to win, No. 1.

(Anything cool come your way as of yet?)

Yeah, the fact that we're playing in the NFC Championship. That's about as cool as you can get.

(Do you feel fresh going into this week and do you have an edge because you didn't play the whole season?)

I don't know if it's an edge. I think if you talk to anybody right now they'd probably say we feel pretty fresh, but I do feel good. This is actually one of the best I've felt going into any game and I'm excited, especially considering I had the 27 carries (against Seattle). But I do feel good. I'm ready to go health-wise and I'm excited about it.

(Do you enjoy playing in a cold climate and did you want to play in an Ice Bowl type setting?)

I don't know if anybody wants to play in the Ice Bowl but it is something that I feel like I can prepare for. I don't think you get used to the cold but you do know how to prepare if I've been involved in cold-weather games, and I'm a professional, so whatever it takes to get my body prepared for that game and to make sure I can take care of business, then I'll do it.

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