Giants TE Evan Engram is officially a professional after playing in the preseason opener against the Steelers last week. However, those first-game nerves will still be there when the Giants take on the Browns Monday night.
"It's still going to be kind of nerve-wracking and exciting," he told Giants.com's Michael Eisen. "I'm really pumped about it. It was a really cool feeling out there, getting out there and having your uniform on and being out there warming up. It kind of really hit me in that moment, and I don't think it's ever going to go away. I'm really excited, I can't wait for Monday night. I think it adds to my game, the eagerness to do well and get out there and run around to make plays. I think all that adds into my performance."
It is hard for rookies not to be shocked during their first taste of NFL action, and Engram learned that against the Steelers as he needed to come back down to Earth.
"I had to lock in," the 22-year-old. "Just being out there, I was kind of wide-eyed and a little nervous. So, being in the huddle, I kind of had to slow down, lock in, hear the play call, get to the line. Just kind of slow everythingn down. in practice, we go through reads and just do all my stuff I usually do. But in the game, sometimes those nerves will build up, especially being a rookie and your first time out there, definitely stuff flies over your head. So, just kind of slowing everything down, locking in, get back to what you've been doing. That's probably the biggest thing I've taken away."
Engram, who recorded one catch for 11 yards in the preseason opener, was immediately taken back by the atmosphere of an NFL game before kickoff even happened.
"In college (at Ole Miss), we never stood out there for the national anthem, we were always in the locker room," the first-rounder said. "The atmosphere (was different), and realizing that we have an NFL shield on our jersey and an "NY" on our helmets. So, that just raised the level. Playing a great team in Pittsburg, I grew up watching all these teams and watching guys who we're going up against and I'm out there on the field with them. So, it's definitely just a different level, emotionally and physically and x's and o's, It's just a whole new level."
With head coach Ben McAdoo saying the first-team offense will see more time on the field against Cleveland, Engram should see some reps with QB Eli Manning.