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Andrews find himself in interesting situation with Giants

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

I once called Shawn Andrews' cell phone a few years back to receive this voicemail greeting: "The Big Kid isn't here right now."

He isn't kidding.

Andrews always has been big, sometimes too big. But there was no denying his talent when he came out of Arkansas as one of the premiere OL talents in the 200X draft. He was a tackle in college and figured to be one in the pros, but Eagles head coach Andy Reid turned him into a road-grading guard, which turned out to be a really good thing.

Yes, Andrews could have played tackle; Reid even talked openly about moving him outside, either on the left or right.

He was a budding star in Philadelphia, but his career got off track. First, there was a bout of depression in 2008 that kept him away from a good chunk of training camp, and the absence upset some teammates. I talked to a coach with that team, and even he wasn't sure exactly what Andrews' deal was. Then two games into the season, a back injury laid him out for the year. Andrews returned with a fury last year and reportedly was in great shape. But one day into camp in '09, he suffered another setback with his back that eventually would lead to his release at season's end.

Now he finds himself back in the NFC Easst with the Giants. It's a very intriguing landing spot, but it's hard to tell how this one will end. If he's healthy and mentally straight, the Giants might have hoodwinked their rivals by stealing a very talented player who should be in his prime at age 27. And really, if he's not healthy, the Giants don't lose much. I'd say GM Jerry Reese made a pretty sound gamble here.

Andrews spoke to the New York media about his arrival today.

"I guess (the Giants) kind of picked me, but I picked them as well," said Andrews, who added that a few other teams showed interest in his services. "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."

Naturally, talk turned to Andrews' back. He has been rehabbing for the past 10 months after having two micro-discectomies and two partial-disc removals.

"The back is feeling pretty good. Feeling pretty good," Andrews said. "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."

Andrews' work ethic has been questioned at times. The coach I mentioned above casually floated the idea in '08 that Andrews might not have been a big fan of August two-a-days. He's not the only player to feel that way, but it certainly didn't endear Andrews to a lot of his teammates who were out working when he was not there.

But I have never heard that Andrews is a bad guy, not even close. He could be a tremendous investment, or perhaps a footnote in the team's transaction wire. The Giants are not exactly teeming with great offensive line depth. Mitch Petrus is a big kid, but he's fighting for a roster spot. Kevin Boothe is serviceable, but Adam Koets and Guy Whimper have not exactly set the world on fire. Will Beatty probably will be a starter before long.

Will the Big Kid stick? Hard to tell. But it's hard not to like the dice roll here. Let's see if the second half of Andrews' career can show glimpses of the first one. The good parts, anyway.

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