What are the chances of this?
“It’s pretty crazy for that to come full circle like that,’’ Giants linebacker Ryan Connelly said. “I don’t know what the odds are, but I imagine they’re pretty big.’’
Yeah, this does not happen every day, or every year. Connelly is entering his second season with the Giants and welcomes as a teammate rookie Carter Coughlin. Connelly was two years ahead of Coughlin at Eden Prairie High School, and the two suited up together for the highly successful Eagles in suburban Minneapolis.
“That’s really something we never talked about or even imagined, so it’s pretty crazy for it to turn out the way it did,’’ Connelly said.
Coughlin was a linebacker his freshman and sophomore years. Connelly was the upperclassman quarterback on those teams. They won two state championships together in a program considered the best in the state. They were coached by Mike Grant, the son of Vikings legend Bud Grant.
“He was a monster as a quarterback,’’ Coughlin said of Connelly. “He was built like a linebacker, crazy athletic and super smart.’’
Hearing himself described as a “monster of a quarterback’’ made the 6-foot-2, 242-pound Connelly chuckle.
“I think he was probably just being a little nice,’’ he said.
“He had a cannon for an arm,’’ Coughlin said, recalling Connelly standing flat-footed at the 50-yard line and throwing the ball into the end zone.
“I may have had a strong arm,’’ the reserved Connelly said, “but I couldn’t exactly put it where I wanted to put it.’’
Connelly walked on at Wisconsin, transitioned to inside linebacker and became a fifth-round pick of the Giants. Coughlin stayed local, following his long-standing family tradition, and attended Minnesota. An outside linebacker with pass rush potential, Coughlin was taken by the Giants in the seventh round. This triggered a reunion for two former high school teammates and Big Ten rivals.
“He texted me on draft day … he gave me a rundown on a bunch of stuff,’’ Coughlin said. “It’s awesome to connect with him. I will be able to get some awesome wisdom from him.’’
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