Wayne Gallman entered his fourth season in the National Football League a complete afterthought. Now, he has NY Giants fans scratching at the bit to see more.
Wayne Gallman was the fourteenth running back drafted in the loaded class of 2017. Coming off a year where his Clemson Tigers won the National Championship, he would join a NY Giants squad entering one of the darkest eras in franchise history.
In the four years that Gallman has donned the Giants’ blue, he has been continually forgotten about, overlooked and in some cases, benched. His talent, mentality and love of football was questioned by even himself.
Every time it seemed like Gallman was ready to take the helm, another roadblock was thrown in his way. After his rookie campaign, veteran back Johnathon Stewart was signed, and the Giants decided to draft one of the best running back prospects ever, Saquon Barkley.
When Barkley went down with an ankle injury last year, it was Gallman who got the bulk of the carries – until a concussion suffered against the Minnesota Vikings derailed his season. A mix of Jon Hilliman and fullback Elijah Penny carried the load until Barkley returned.
Even after another unfortunate Barkley injury this season, the Giants were not ready to entrust Gallman. He wasn’t even dressed for the game against the Chicago Bears, leading to a heavy dose of scat-back, Dion Lewis, after the injury.
That season, New York brought in the top free agent running back available, Devonta Freeman. Once again, they wouldn’t let Gallman handle the lead back duties.
Three different coaching regimes. Two general managers. The clock was ticking on Gallman’s career with the Giants – he just needed that one chance.
After a nagging ankle injury suffered by Freeman last month and a hamstring injury suffered last week, Gallman finally got it.
In his fourth season in the NFL, Gallman is running with an energy that shows that he has a proverbial fire lit up under him. He’s playing like he knows this could be his one, and only, chance to prove he’s an NFL caliber running back.
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The stats are following him too, as they’re backing up what we’re seeing when Gallman is on the field – production. Since becoming the team’s RB1 after Freeman’s injury, Gallman is averaging almost five yards per carry, with four touchdowns to boot, at least one in each game.
He’s been money at the goal-line as well, jumping and powering through anyone who tries to tackle him when he’s on his way to pay-dirt.
Players are just as happy as fans to see Gallman finally get his shot. Barkley, one of those roadblocks that has been in Gallman’s way since he was drafted, was elated to see his fellow back have a career day.
If the former Clemson product can continue to play well, Big Blue will be hard pressed to get rid of him, even with the return of Barkley next season. Gallman has certainly carved out a role where he can alleviate some of the pressure off of his teammate, who will be coming off of major knee surgery.
All Gallman needed was a chance. A chance to prove his worth, a chance to change the trajectory of his career, a chance to love football again. Gallman knows better than anyone that chances are few and far between, and he’s making sure that the ‘Wayne Train’ is here to stay.
It’s time to get off the tracks. Wayne Gallman has revived the Giants’ run game – and his career – it’s only up from here. Full speed ahead.