New York Giants' DT Jay Alford: The Forgotten One is Ready For 2010

Jeff Shull@Jeff_ShullAnalyst IFebruary 24, 2010

CHICAGO - AUGUST 22: Jay Alford #93 of the New York Giants is taken off the field on a cart after he was injured against the Chicago Bears during their preseason NFL game at Soldier Field on August 22, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Oh how the mighty have fallen. OK, so maybe he wasn't that mighty, but he was definitely important.

Jay Alford has gone from having one of the biggest plays in Super Bowl XLII when he sacked New England Patriots QB Tom Brady on their final drive, to sitting out the entire 2009 season after training camp had produced expectations of a breakout year.

Often times, players will never recover from a season-ending injury, sometimes not being able to overcome the mental aspect more than the physical.

"When football is your life, basically, and when it gets taken away, you have no life," said Alford. "I missed everything about football - the locker room atmosphere, getting close to your teammates, practicing, games - all of it. When it's not there anymore, it's stinks."

I can't imagine the feeling of having every single coach sing your praises after two-a-days, only to have the season ripped away from you due to an injury.

Alford tore his ACL, which typically requires a full year of recover before you actually feel like your old self, maybe more. Alford plans to be ready before that, indicating a strong desire to improve the lackluster defense of 2009 and prove that he is worthy of a starting position.

"I want to be back for OTAs," Alford said. "They say I should be ready by March, I should be a hundred percent. Right now, it's a mental thing, because when I do run on it, I'm usually thinking about it. Once that goes away, I should be alright."

Several draft experts—as well as some of us on Bleacher Report—believe that the Giants may be targeting a defensive tackle as their first overall pick. If Alford can show them he is well on his way to returning to form, that may give them the luxury of going in a different direction with the pick.

Chris Canty and Jay Alford have loads of potential, but they have yet to live up to it.

Alford has expressed an eagerness to get back with his teammates, and cannot wait to prove he will be ready for this season.

"I'm definitely looking forward to training camp," he said. "I'll probably hate it after it starts, but right now I'm looking forward to it. I'm sure during Week 3 I'm going to be dreading it, but right now I'm can't wait for it to start."

Hopefully he can return to form, but if Osi's injury tells us anything, it could be a long road ahead.

Quotes obtained from beat writer Michael Eisen