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Brandon Jacobs: "People Can Say What the Hell They Want to Say"

The fired-up Giants running back on training, overhyped opponents and leaving New York.

Brandon Jacobs’ highlight reel elicits the same kind of visceral, wincing reaction as a roundup of MMA knockouts. There’s the occasional flourish of something beautiful, something truly “athletic” in the traditional sense, but for the most part, it’s brutal. Football fans know that when Jacobs gets the ball, someone's going to get hurt. As ball carriers around the league get bigger and more powerful, Jacobs’ size is still an anomaly; at 6’4” and 264 pounds, he is more suited to linebacker than running back. His willingness to seek out contact has made him a favorite among Giants fans, but at 29 years old, Jacobs has seen his workload decrease dramatically. After missing the Giants' last two games with a knee injury, Jacobs says he’s ready to return to action. On his off day, he took some time to catch up with Men’s Fitness. With your style of play being more physical, do you do any pure mass building work for your shoulders, traps, and arms? No question. You have to tune yourself for the way you’re going to be raced. You can’t go in there and tune your car for 93 octane and then run 109, so you gotta go in there and practice in the ways that you’re going to be used and be able to keep yourself healthy.

MODERN WARRIOR Jacobs might be more possessive of his controller than the football. Eager for the Nov. 8 release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, he's currently refining his skills in COD: Black Ops. When do you have time to play Modern Warfare? Is there one set up in the locker room or do you play online with your teammates? I play when I get home because there’s too much controller sharing when you’re playing among a lot of people. I like to keep the controller in my hand and get warmed up and keep going. Speaking of… I’m playing Black Ops right now as we’re talking on the phone. I just ended a match. It's set up in the locker room, but you don't share your controller? My first game I might be terrible, but by my third or fourth, I’m the first one to 30. I can’t get warmed up if I keep passing the controller back and forth. Campaign or multiplayer? I like campaign, but I’ve gotten into multiplayer on Black Ops, which is the first time doing it. On Modern Warfare 2, I played a lot of special ops, where you've gotta go get three stars and move on and accomplish different things, kill waves of people and things like that. I really, really have fun doing those things, but Modern Warfare 3 is supposed to be on another level, and I really can’t wait to get that in my PlayStation. Who else on the team plays? Michael Boley, Ahmad Bradshaw, Lawrence Tynes, Richie Seubert, Sean O’ Hara—they’re not on the team anymore, but it’s a lot of guys. I’m trying to get Eli (Manning) on it. I think he can be pretty good at it, but he just wants to watch film all the time.

What does an off-season leg day look like? We do a lot of body weight things and flexibility, strengthening the hips and stretching—because that’s the way you break tackles. It’s not about strength, it’s about being able to come out and be really explosive. I’ve been lacking a lot of that throughout my career. And I’ve been working on it the last couple years and things are getting better for me. I do leg strengthening work, but it's more maintaining at 29 years old. It's been suggested that you’re not quite as eager to seek out contact the past couple of seasons. Any truth to that? There’s a lot of people that really don’t know what they’re talking about. First off, I don’t really get a lot of chances to prove [myself]. As a back, you need to get out and get going, get a couple carries. You know, get the pace of the game down… I don’t get enough carries to say I was part of anything, so people can say what the hell they want to say… it doesn’t really bother me. Sports Illustrated picked the Eagles to run away with the NFC East, followed by the Cowboys, then the Giants. Do you get a kick out of hearing all the hype and then watching those guys fall flat? No question. They have a lot of talent and they’re very well coached, but it’s so thrilling for me to see the Eagles and Cowboys lose like they’ve been doing. It’s so refreshing. Washington, fortunately they started losing; I knew their luck would run out sooner or later. Will you be back in the lineup Sunday against the Dolphins? I’m back in the lineup Sunday, hopefully. I feel good and I don’t know what their plans are at this point. I’m just going out there and do what I can do no matter what the hell their plans are. My plans are to be out there though. Roger Goodell was campaigning pretty hard for an 18-game schedule. Are two extra games that big a deal? It was a big deal for some guys. It was a big deal for me as well, but not this year because, like I said, getting the amount of play that I’m getting now, I could play 40 games. It wouldn’t matter. I might just get 100 carries. Eighteen games—it could be a big deal for a guy that’s taking a heavy workload, no question. Speaking of which, seeing as how friend and teammate Ahmad Bradshaw's success means you’re not used as much, how are you taking it? [Ed. Note: Jacobs restructured his contract this past offseason, agreeing to a cut in his base salary. He is due a $500,000 roster bonus in March 2012, at which point the Giants may elect to waive him.] Well, he’s not being used as much as he can be, either. It’s a very confusing thing. I’m just here, doing the best that I can do to help my team. I come out to win; it’s up to them whether or not they want to use me. I just can’t wait to get a true opportunity to get out there and show myself again, you know? Next year, hopefully. This is a business and you have to look at it that way. I just want to get out there and show myself. It’s going to have to be for another team, but it is what it is. It comes with the territory. So you don’t see yourself with the Giants beyond this contract? No, I don’t.
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