Evan Engram
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning gave Evan Engram a boost in confidence during the tight end’s injury-plagued second season.

Evan Engram had a more-than-promising rookie season for the New York Giants in 2017. The then-rookie from Ole Miss proved to be a bright spot in one of the most disappointing seasons in the franchise’s history (finished 3-13).

He caught 64 balls on 115 targets for 722 yards and six touchdowns through 15 games. However, his second season was full of setbacks.

Dealing with numerous injuries, Engram only played in 11 games. He caught 45 balls for 577 yards and three scores through the air. Needless to say, it was a tough campaign for the then-second-year tight end.

Engram needed a boost of confidence, especially during the time period when the Giants underwent their so-called “firesale” that included trading Eli Apple and Damon Harrison. That’s where Eli Manning came into the picture.

“To be honest, it was a really, really dark time around here, a dark time with me,” Engram said, per Ryan Dunleavy of NJ Advance Media. “I was coming off an injury and I had a couple bad games. In this business, when things aren’t going the right way, changes are made.”

“I give a lot of credit to my teammates,” Engram stated on the support he was given. “Eli was one of the guys who picked me up.”

Eli, being the captain he’s always been, gave Engram the inspiration he needed to keep moving forward. After Engram survived the trade-filled period, it was clear the Giants wanted the versatile tight end to be a part of their future.

“You send him a text and keep throwing it to him,” Manning told Dunleavy. “You say, ‘This is how we are going to get you open.’ Or ‘We are going to get you set up on this linebacker and you’ll destroy this.’

“You pump him up and let him know you have faith. They may lose some confidence in themselves at times, but you want to make sure they know the quarterback still has it, and we’re going to come to you and find ways to get you the ball.”

Engram should be a big target for Manning this season, especially early on. He’ll need to be in the midst of the unfortunate four-game suspension of veteran receiver Golden Tate.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.