Getting traded after just two seasons with a team can be very difficult for some players, but it seems Giants safety Jabrill Peppers has fully embraced the new opportunity. The New Jersey native was acquired by the Giants in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade with the Cleveland Browns back in March.
During an interview with Steve Serby of the New York Post, Peppers opened up about his career, family, and thoughts on some current and former teammates.
Peppers, who the Browns selected with pick 25 in the 2017 NFL Draft, was highly touted coming out of Michigan. He was a threat on both sides of the ball, making defensive plays and working well in the return game. He expressed his pride for making it to the NFL, while also holding himself accountable for his play thus far in his career.
"And I just was so proud of myself when I look back on it because it's been countless times that one mistake can change your life forever, alter it for the worse," Peppers said. "I wasn't perfect, I made some mistakes, but they weren't grave mistakes that impacted my life goal. And to be playing professionally, where I grew up... when I see people that I grew up with congratulating me 'You really made it out,' and all these things, it kind of makes you really sit back like, 'Damn, I really did make it.' "
However, Peppers would go on to say that, "I haven't been proud of how I've been playing since I got here. ...I hold myself to a very high standard, and I just haven't played at that standard. … Good is not good enough."
When asked about his relationship with his mother, Ivory Bryant, and why she is so proud of him, he responded very thankfully.
"Because we had it hard, man, she's a single mom, raised two kids. … Living paycheck to paycheck … worked two jobs while getting a master's degree. We made it together," Peppers said. "She's just as much a part of this as I am. I wouldn't be here without her instilling the values and virtues, hard work, right and wrong, good conscience. ... and then you know like, 'OK, God put a lot of good people in your life.' My mom's definitely the best person that He could have put in there."
The Giants plan on using Peppers to fill the void left by former safety Landon Collins, who left the team in free agency. He responded to a question asking what he'd say to Giants fans on replacing Collins.
"I just plan on doing my due diligence, coming in here playing hard, fast, smart, making plays on the ball, and do whatever I can do to help this team win ballgames," Peppers said.
He would go on to talk about former teammate, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Peppers described Mayfield as a, "Fiery guy. Will to win is through the roof... Competitive." One pick after Mayfield, the Giants selected Saquon Barkley, and Peppers has noticed similarities between his new teammate and former quarterback.
"Same way. He's more calm, Bake is more riled up. Saquon talks, but when he stops talking and just goes to work, man, it's one of the damndest things to see," Peppers said. "And I get to practice against him every day, so that's definitely dope. He's just uber-athletic, freak of nature. … Like they just built him in a shop somewhere (laugh). His legs are too big for him to be that fast and quick and nimble. Great center of gravity. Core strength. He runs with his pads over his toes. Catch out of the backfield. Complete player."
So as the Michigan product looks to start this new chapter in a very familiar place, he does have a message for Giants fans.
"We're going to come ready to rock every Sunday," Peppers said.