Shane Vereen’s rookie season also was the last time the New England Patriots and New York Giants played before their Week 10 matchup this Sunday.
Vereen didn’t play in the Patriots’ two losses to the Giants in 2011 — including Super Bowl XLVI — but the running back’s role steadily increased from there. Vereen eventually proved his worth as a running back, blocker and receiver, and he was a key offensive weapon for the Patriots en route to their 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
That turned out to be the last time Vereen wore a New England uniform, though, as he signed a three-year, 12.35 million contract with New York during the offseason. And while he sometimes misses the chicken wings and bread at Skipjack’s in Foxboro, Mass., he remains content with the change of scenery.
“There’s been times when I miss the guys and so I call them and text them, but I still feel like I made the right decision for myself, for my family, and at the end of the day, it’s a business and you have to do what’s smart for you,” Vereen said in a conference call with New England media Wednesday.
Vereen’s 2015 season has looked pretty similar to recent years with the Patriots. He is third on the Giants with 174 rushing yards, but that’s just one of the many ways he contributes. He also has 309 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
Another similarity for Vereen is Tom Coughlin’s coaching style in comparison to Bill Belichick’s in New England.
“I wish there was one (biggest difference between Coughlin and Belichick), but, to be honest, they’re more similar than different,” Vereen said. “The way they teach and coach and preach their principles about being a physical team and playing fast, stopping the run and being able to run the ball. Those are all their basic principles and those are very similar between both coaches.”
He also sees the same “drive” and “intensity” between quarterbacks Tom Brady and Eli Manning, although there is one noticeable difference.
“Emotional-wise, Tom is probably a little more emotional, Eli is more of a quiet speaker, I guess you can say,” Vereen said. “Little more quiet than Tom is. Their personalities are different, that’s all. They’re just not the same person.”
MetLife Stadium is Vereen’s new home after playing at Gillette Stadium for four seasons. But, while his uniform has changed, he’s still doing many of the same things that make him so versatile offensively. And he is doing it alongside a coach and a quarterback with proven pedigrees, just like he did in New England.
That doesn’t erase some of the weird feelings Vereen expects to feel Sunday, though, when he plays his first regular-season game against his former teammates.
“Yeah, in a sense, it is (strange),” Vereen said. “Yeah, absolutely because for four years that’s where you practice, that’s what you see every day, and now we’re actually preparing to play in a real game. So it’s kind of fun, though.”
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via New York Giants running back Shane Vereen