Rashad Jennings expects to cry before first MNF game

Rashad Jennings has appeared in 53 games over his five-year NFL career. Shockingly enough, he’s never had the privilege of lacing up for the biggest primetime stage — Monday Night Football.

Until now. (Or, technically, three days from now.)

On Monday night, when the Giants open the regular season in Detroit, Jennings will play in his first MNF contest. And he expects it to be an emotional affair.

“I don’t think I played one,” Jennings said, via NJ.com. “So it’s fun under the lights. But after the national anthem, maybe shed a couple of tears and as soon as the first snap, it’s back to football.”

The veteran running back spent his first three seasons in Jacksonville before bolting for one-and-done stint with the Raiders in 2013. His misfortune of playing for a pair of the league’s most hapless and irrelevant teams contributed to his limited exposure.

Now the bell cow for Big Blue — he signed a four-year contract this offseason — Jennings will get his share of the limelight all to himself. The honor certainly isn’t lost on the 29-year-old, whose tears flow with the singing of the National Anthem.

“I [cry] all the time. There is something about the National Anthem,” said Jennings “I went to my little nephew’s basketball game in the offseason and the national anthem was playing and I got in that psyche and zone. It’s just …

“Take [recently retired] David Wilson or take any guy. You can never take for granted something I’ve wanted to do since I was six and told I couldn’t, and all the reasons I was told I couldn’t. To overcome all of those, I never take it for granted.”

All too often, you hear about players going through the motions simply to collect their paychecks. That Jennings, a former seventh-round pick, is continually thankful for his opportunity is a refreshing change from the norm.

(Photo credit: @Giants)

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Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, MSN.com, FanSided.com, and About.com. Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (zpkelb@gmail.com).