Evan Engram’s fifth, and potentially final, season as a New York Giant ended the same way the first four did: the minute the final gun sounded in the final week, Big Blue was done.
“It’s hard to compare, because I can’t really find the details to relate, it’s just unfortunate,” Engram said Monday, when asked how the end of 2021 stacks up to previous finales. “I wish we had another big game coming up this week, but I definitely believe that things here are heading in the right direction.”
This time, though, Engram isn’t sure he’ll be back to follow that direction, as he now becomes a free agent after what were five turbulent and tumultuous seasons in New York.
“I wouldn’t call it a tough day; I wish we were still going, and cleaning out lockers isn’t fun, but saying goodbyes and hanging with the guys a bit more has been fun,” Engram said in what could be his final media session as a Giant. “All that stuff is out of my control – well, a little bit is – but everything will come with time. No hard decisions right now, just going with the flow.”
Engram has had some conversations about the process of free agency, one he admitted he has “no idea about” and doesn’t know what to expect.
As he alluded to, some of his fate is in his hands, as he’ll get to make the ultimate decision on where he plays in 2022, but that also comes with knowing not only does he need to want a team, the team needs to want him.
And if the Giants want him back?
“I’d be blessed to be back with the New York Giants, 100 percent,” he said. “But whatever happens, happens. There are a lot that needs to be figured out and a lot of conversations that need to be had. I know this season was tough and we didn’t play to our expectations, but I think there are things we can look at and know we can fix. It sucks our season is over, but I do feel we’re heading in the right direction.”
If not, though, so ends a five-year career where Engram was highly-touted as a first-round pick, but often struggled and was a lightning rod for criticism and controversy – a path that, to be fair, can be looked at by some as made more difficult by the fact that he ended 2021 playing for his third head coach and fourth offensive coordinator.
Some could pin it that way, but not Engram.
“It was an adjustment. It would be nice to stay in one offense and not go through that, because it makes things difficulty but it was an adjustment I took head on,” he said. “No excuses, I’ll never blame anything on that. We’re still on the field and have to execute no matter what.”
Engram did lead a moribund Giants offense in catches this year and was often a bright spot in a dark season, but he’ll head into free agency as a 27-year-old who had his best season as a rookie but has shown flashes of a potential breakout without often the best results since.
So what has he learned over this time?
“I think the biggest thing I can take away from my five years is knowing that I’m more than just a football player,” he said. “My entire career, I’ve poured everything into the game, and there was a time where everything about me was football. I’m obsessed with my craft, but I’ve learned I can’t put all my eggs in one basket, especially when you’re not having success or doing the things you need to do. It’s easy to do that and look down on yourself, but I’ve learned a lot from everyone about that.”
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN