Rich Moran, agent for newest New York Giant Shawn Andrews, told your Eagletarian this morning that his client has been working with former offensive line coach Tom Lovat, who coached Moran when Moran was a Packers guard, when Andy Reid also was working on Mike Holmgren's staff.
(Here's a photo Twitpic'd this morning by Mike Garofalo, multimedia maven of the Newark Star-Ledger)
Moran said Lovat "spent four days in a row last week working with Shawn doing offensive line work and driving the sled." Moran said Lovat and athletic therapist Heather Milligan felt Andrews was ready to play football again, so they met in Los Angeles last Friday with Dr. Robert Watkins, who did Andrews' two back surgeries.
"He was cleared and we have been traveling since Sunday for physicals and workouts" Moran said.
Moran added that Andrews has been working since last winter on his return to the NFL, spurred by Milligan, who began working with him last November at the Eagles' request. Moran said Milligan correctly deduced that Andrews' problems last year were actually from a slightly different area than his 2008 surgery, and suggested that instead of continuing to rehab the 2008 inury, he visit Watkins again.
When Watkins confirmed the different problem, Shawn underwent his 2009 surgery, Moran said.
Andrews ended up signing with the Giants in the middle of the night, early Friday morning. There seems to be a law that any player who leaves the Eagles must resurface with a team that plays the Eagles that season. Moran wouldn't say how close he feels Shawn is to actually playing in a football game, something he hasn't done since Game 2 of the 2008 season. But the Eagles' encounters with the Giants both come relatively late this year, Sunday, Nov. 21 at the Linc and Sunday, Dec. 19 at the new Meadowlands stadium. It's hard to see where he fits in there right away, but if Shawn is going to play this year, you'd think he'd be ready by then.
Attempts to reach Stacy Andrews, Shawn's brother who is scheduled to man Shawn's old right guard spot for the Eagles tonight in Cincinnati, were unsuccessful.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin was asked if the Giants were satisfied that Andrews is "mentally in the right spot." He battled depression in 2008 and has not always seemed focused on playing football.
"He's been here for a couple of days and he's had interviews with basically everybody," Coughlin said. "People have spent a lot of time with him. I spent a good half hour with him yesterday. The quality of the football player that I remember from a couple of years ago is outstanding. Knowing that he went through some issues -- he had the back and some other issues that he had to deal with. But sensing now that he really is motivated and really wants to play. He's just a pleasant young man to visit with. He does indicate to you the kind of desire that he has to get back into the game."
Here is the transcript from Shawn's encounter today with reporters covering the Giants. Particularly like the first answer, and the parenthetical notation. That's Shawn, all right.
Q: Who are you?
ANDREWS: I’m just a nobody (singing).
Q: How did this all come about?
ANDREWS: Well I’ve been out in L.A. for the last 10 months just busting my butt, rehabbing over at Curling Joe’s Select Physical Therapy (?). Had a phenomenal therapist, Heather Milligan (?), and the Giants have been following my progress and they like what they saw and brought me in for a workout and here I am.
Q: When did they bring you in?
ANDREWS: I came in a couple days ago. Couple days ago. You’re wondering why you guys didn’t hear about it? Keep it on the low, I guess. I don’t know.
Q: When you said the Giants have been tracking your progress, had they been in touch the whole 10 months?
ANDREWS: Yes. Well not the whole 10 months. I would say a few months ago they were just checking with my agent to see how things were going and were just following me closely.
Q: Were other teams doing the same?
ANDREWS: Yeah, there were a few teams interested. Some fell back for whatever reason and some were persistent in their pursuit of me. But I’m here.
Q: Why did you pick here?
ANDREWS: Why did I pick here? I guess they kind of picked me, but I picked them as well. I just like the atmosphere. The guys that I met, I can tell genuine people when I see them. And it’s right up the road in the NFC, same division where I come from and it’s real intense and I like that.
Q: You haven’t played in two years. How long is it going to take you to get back?
ANDREWS: Well we’ll see. I’ve put myself through various tests, and the only test for football really is getting on the field and just kind of going slow – a few plays here, see how the back holds up. I’m laying it all on the line. Not that I haven’t before, but this is it. So the Giants are going to get everything from me.
Q: Are you a guard or a tackle or are they going to play you both?
ANDREWS: A little bit of both. Wherever I fit in. Wherever coach Coughlin and the offensive line coach Flaherty sees me. So I’m just here to get it done wherever they put me.
Q: How’s the back?
ANDREWS: The back is feeling pretty good. Feeling pretty good. I’ve been working hard. I’ve been going hard -- not that I’ve never worked hard in my life, but I said this is my last attempt at it and I’m going to go just all out. I’m selling out right now.
Q: What was exactly wrong with your back? What did you have at its worst?
ANDREWS: I had a couple micro-discectomies, just had a couple partial-disc removals, and that was pretty much it.
Q: Why come back? You had a good career, and you probably could have just been like ‘OK, I’m done with football.’
ANDREWS: You know what, I could have. But I’m a competitor and I’m trying to follow the footsteps of the great Larry Allen. I want to be that good and even better and I think I have a chance to do that. In this conference, it’s competitive and I think I have a good shot to achieve that. So hopefully everything goes well, and it’s back to kicking butt.
Q: You failed the physical in the spring with the Eagles?
ANDREWS: That’s kind of tricky right there. I won’t say that…nah, I didn’t.
Q: What happened from that point to now?
ANDREWS: It was very interesting. I don’t really want to get into that, and I don’t want to make it a battle. But the time of my release, it was very untimely. I’m a Giant now. That’s all I can say. That’s all I can rest my hat on. I’ve been working hard, and I’m a Giant.
Q: What happened in Philly, because it didn’t seem to end too well?
ANDREWS: It was a lot. It was a lot. I don’t really want to harp on that. The past is the past. The only time I look in the rearview is for the cops, and I don’t speed. I just kind of leave that where it is.
Q: Is it strange to say you’re a Giant or is it redemption a little bit?
ANDREWS: It kind of has a ring to it. I mean it really does have a ring to it. It’s right up the road, and I made some friends back in Philly and New Jersey, but I’m just right up the Turnpike. It just gives me another opportunity to stay in this conference and compete and I think the Giants, they’re the program to be here. So I’m excited.
Q: Are you going to be able to fully practice Monday?
ANDREWS: They’re just going to kind of ease me into this thing. Just kind of ease me into it and see what happens and see how the back responds. Just for me, knowing the difference of football form and the back hurting so hopefully I’ve done everything to prevent it, and we’ll see what happens. May God be with me.
Q: Do you have a positional preference? Are you a better tackle or a better guard?
ANDREWS: I like the right now aspect of the physicalness (sic) of playing guard, but at tackle I kind of like the aspect of kind of showing my footwork a little bit-kind of showing off if you will. I guess it’s all physical, but I like both aspects and wherever they want me to be, that’s where I’m going to be.
Q: What did (your brother) Stacy say about this?
ANDREWS: Oh he was excited for me. I texted him and I told him I’m close to being a Giant last night, and I guess he woke up and heard the news this morning. He was texting me. He was like, it was a little jargon that we talk to each other with, but he was excited for me.
Q: You seem to be in good spirits and part of your history was that always wasn’t the case. How are you feeling as far as your head in the game?
ANDREWS: My head is in the game. It’s always been in the game. I just had some setbacks there, and it was untimely and I heard every excuse for myself why the things happened back in 2008 that happened. We all go through things, and a lot of people I learned that point the finger and are probably going through a lot of things themselves and it just makes them feel stronger to point the finger at someone else. So I know that the God that I serve is a forgiving God, and he’s a God of second chances so why not give a guy a second chance who’s passionate about what he does.
Q: Do you think you can return to the form that you once had? Or have you set the bar lower?
ANDREWS: No. I never set the bar low. If I would set the bar low, I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t have gone through a second surgery and I wouldn’t have came here to work out. I always want to be the best. I want to do better than ‘good enough’ and that’s what I aim to do while I’m a Giant.
Q: What was the time frame for the surgeries?
ANDREWS: You got me on that one. I kind of play football. Doctor Watkins (?) could probably kind of give you a better idea.
Q: The last one was sometime last year?
ANDREWS: Yes. The most recent surgery was like the first week of December ’09 I think.
Q: Why in the middle of the night?
ANDREWS: Things happen. You just kind of have to talk things out. I let my agent and the guys here kind of work things out. I was just sitting there playing with my iPad, playing ‘Angry Birds’ just waiting to sign.
Q: Angry birds? The Eagles?
ANDREWS: Isn’t that ironic. No, that was good. That was good.
Q: You signed for one year?
ANDREWS: I think it’s six years, if I’m not mistaken.
Q: You’ve got to like the opportunities having some of the guys banged up and getting in there and making an impact right away?
ANDREWS: Yeah. Yeah. I mean of course you hate to see that, especially this is my home now and these are my new teammates and my new friends. So you hate to see them hurt, but at the same time it’s reality. It’s football. You get hurt, and wherever you’re called upon you just step in and try to do the best you can.
Q: Did you like playing against the Giants? Were they good games?
ANDREWS: They were always good games. Always a nice little battle down in the trenches. Manning was physical. I remember playing against Fred Robbins, we always had a great battle. It was fun. Some of my better games I would say.
Q: Are you looking forward to the other side now?
ANDREWS: I am. I am. I have to get their first. I’m not making this a ‘Shawn vs. the Eagles’ thing. I don’t have any bad blood towards them. It was just an untimely release. They wanted to go in another direction, and I just kept working my tail off. So here I am. I’m a G-man.
Q: You’re like Donovan McNabb, moving within the division?
ANDREWS: I guess you could say that. I always aspired to be a quarterback. I’m actually an offensive lineman trapped in a defensive lineman’s body who is actually a wide receiver.