When the New York Giants were beset by injuries to their offensive line in training camp two week ago, they turned to a familiar source for help: tackle Cliff Louis.
Louis blossomed, after playing for Westhill High School, at Morgan State, where he grew two inches and put on 100 pounds to become a 6-foot-8, 310-pound professional prospect. He was signed as a free agent by the Browns three years ago and has bounced around with several franchises.
This is Louis’ fourth stint with the Giants; he lasted until the final cut of training camp last summer.
When Louis re-emerged earlier this month, it came as a surprise to many who had wondered about his whereabouts. Bill Kurtz, his coach at Westhill, said he had not heard from Louis in a long time.
It turns out Louis was right under our eyes: working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Stamford.
“It was a great job,” Louis said. “Things were going well and then the Giants called. They asked if I could come up that day. I was still in shape.”
Louis was signed by the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League in April. He said he injured his shoulder at the end of his first practice with the team and then released.
Louis said he was eager to get another chance with the Giants.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “I was walking around the facility and people here looked at me and thought they had seen a ghost. They were doing a double-take. ‘That’s Cliff.’ ”
Louis played much of the fourth quarter of Monday’s preseason win over the Jets. He played well but was called for a personal foul penalty late in the game.
Asked if he was scolded by coach Tom Coughlin, Louis said, “No, he just told me that’s not the way we do things here.”
Louis said he is hoping to make the most of his latest opportunity.
“I’m trying to do things differently than before,” Louis said. “I’m working harder, working smarter, out to practice early and staying out on the field late. I’m happy. I’m elated to be back. It was great to get into the game, whether it was for a quarter or a minute, it was a blessing. I’ll just keep working hard.”