Former Dragon Brandon Mosley talks about fighting his way back to the NFL playing field
FROM the time he was drafted in 2012, Brandon Mosley had to wait 498 days until he made his NFL debut.
But the former Jefferson Dragon isn’t afraid to take the long road if that’s what’s required of him.
Mosley, who toiled away in junior college for three seasons before eventually budding into an All-SEC performer at Auburn, appeared in 13 games in 2013 for the New York Giants and made one start after seeing his entire rookie season wiped out due to injury.
“I was pretty anxious to get back into it,” said Mosley, who starred at Jefferson from 2003-2006. “I finally got the chance to, and I felt like I did good.”
Now, the 6-6, 318-pound offensive lineman is set to embark on a year that could possibly see him play a larger role along the Giants’ offensive front. Mosley’s rise through adversity to the NFL ranks has been thrilling for those back home to watch.
“I think it was awesome that he was able to overcome that (injury),” said Jefferson defensive coordinator Tom Parker, who coached Mosley when he played defensive end and linebacker back in high school. “He’s had a long story of those types of episodes in his life and he’s just never given up. He just keeps working hard and pursuing it.”
After a successful two-year stint at Auburn, Mosley was plenty frustrated back in August of 2012 when he sustained an ankle injury that put him on injured reserve before his career even started.
But he decided to remain in New York for the entire season, rehabbing everyday, working out and attending offensive meetings to engross himself in the Giants’ playbook for when he would be able to play.
“Even though I couldn’t get the physical reps, the mental reps were huge for me not being able to play,” Mosley said.
Mosley’s grit was rewarded last year when he saw regular time at right guard and as a special teams player. He played extensively in games against Seattle and Kansas City and made his first career start against Detroit.
“The first start was huge,” Mosely said. “It was awesome. I was pumped. It was a good team to start against, too, so it was fun.”
Mosley did miss the last game of the season with a broken hand, but he said he’s ready to go this year.
The 2014 season now sets up as an interesting one for the 25-year-old.
Due to injuries to the Giants’ starting right guard Chris Snee, Mosley might be in line for more playing time this fall, though he certainly doesn’t want to see his playing time come at the expense of Snee, whom he considers something of a mentor. Still, Mosley is ready to step in if his name is called.
“Hopefully, I can get a lot more playing time, whether it be at another position or that position. It doesn’t matter to me — wherever I can jump in to help the team,” Mosley said.
Mosley — who starts training camp July 21 — is set to enter his third year in the NFL where keeping a job can be a stressful process with the typical player overhaul on league rosters and the relatively short careers of professional football players.
But Mosley said he feels better about the situation playing for a franchise like the Giants.
“It makes it a lot easier whenever the organization, the team and the players and everybody are really cool and everything,” Mosley said.
Mosley has formed several friendships in his time with the team. He hangs out with offensive linemen James Brewer and Justin Pugh the most of anyone on the roster. He also reports having a good rapport with Eli Manning when asked about the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
“I like Eli,” Mosley said. “He’s a smart guy. He spends so much time in the facility … If you ever have any questions, he’s the guy to go to.”
Mosley lives half the year in New York with his wife and two-year-old daughter and calls life in the Big Apple “different.” He prefers the slower-paced life in Georgia, but he’s adjusting to living up there for the most part with some exceptions.
“It’s kind of expensive,” he said. “I don’t really care for that, but you got to do it.”
Though he plays for one of the NFL’s glamour franchises in one of the world’s largest cities, Mosley’s hometown remains near and dear to his heart — as does his old team.
Mosley said he keeps abreast of the Dragons’ football fortunes through contact with coach Parker and social media as well.
“I definitely keep up with them,” said Mosley, whose brother, Kyle, also played for Jefferson. “I follow a bunch of the guys who play on the team on Twitter.”
As fate would have it, Mosley witnessed the program’s finest hour to date in 2012 when Jefferson beat Calhoun for the Class AA state title.
On injured reserve that year for New York, the Giants were scheduled to face the Atlanta Falcons in the Dome the day after the Class AA finals. So Mosley hopped a plane to watch Jefferson thump Calhoun 31-14.
“It was awesome seeing them finally bring home a state championship,” Mosley said. They played hard. They deserved it. They had a great year that year and great players.”
When he’s around in the offseason, Mosley drops by the Jefferson High School weight room and track for workouts where he’s able to talk to the current players.
Mosley said he’s appreciative of the times when he gets to return to where it all began.
“It’s awesome coming back home and just seeing all the faces back in Jefferson,” Mosley said. “Everybody is just so nice and supportive. It’s good seeing everybody.”
In turn, Jefferson is proud to see one of its own playing on national TV on Sundays. Parker said Mosley was always blessed with ability but hopes some of the things he learned while wearing a Dragon uniform helped lay the foundation.
“It’s just a great feeling to say, ‘hey, the system we’ve got in place, it can work and it does work and here’s the proof of a guy that’s gone on and won at our level, won at the next level and is playing at the third level which is few and far between,” said Parker, who said Mosley just recently visited him at the Jefferson field house.
Mosley hopes to give the Jefferson folks more to cheer about in the coming years.
After being part of a national title team at Auburn in 2010, he wants to add a championship to his NFL résumé. New York has failed to reach the playoffs the past two seasons following a Super Bowl win in 2011 but has installed a new offense under new coordinator Ben McAdoo and incorporated a lot of new players into the mix.
“We’re excited about this year after last year with the season we had,” Mosley said. “We’re ready to get out there and kind of put on a show for Giants fans and get back to the playoffs and win championships.”
Mosley said he particularly looks forward to playing Atlanta Oct. 5.
“Just because everybody back home are Falcons fans,” he said. “When we beat them, there’s always bragging rights.”
He also talked about New York’s intense rivalry with Eastern Division foe Dallas.
“The fans hate each other,” he said. “It’s awesome. It’s a great game to play in. it’s always a close game, too.”
Mosley called the season long and tough, especially with some teams playing over 20 games when preseason games and the playoffs are factored in.
But there’s nothing else that Mosley would rather be doing. After all, he’s living out his dream.
“It’s a tough business, but it’s definitely fun,” he said. “I enjoy it. I’d play football forever. I’m definitely glad that this is my profession. I enjoy it — working out, playing football and hanging with the guys.”
Giant strides: Former Dragon Brandon Mosley talks about fighting his way back to the NFL playing field
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