TAMPA, Fla. -- David Meggett's encore season in the NFL was filled with trial and tribulation.
One year after a Pro Bowl rookie campaign, the New York Giants' elusive scatback fell short of his -- and the club's -- expectations. There was tighter defensive coverage, fewer big plays and even a one-day boycott of practice in protest over his contract.
Were it not for Super Bowl XXV, it might be a season Meggett would like to forget.
"We're in the Super Bowl and that's my goal," he said. "[But] I feel it was a down season for me personally.
"My numbers weren't there. I didn't have as many big returns; I didn't have as many third-down plays."
Meggett, a fifth-round draft pick out of Towson State in 1989, dazzled the NFL as a third-down receiver and kick returner as a rookie. This season his all- purpose yardage dropped from 1,807 to 1,533, and his touchdowns fell from five to two. A year ago he had three catches of more than 50 yards. This season his longest reception was a 38-yarder in Week 3.
On the plus side, he led the team in receptions with 39, led the NFC in kickoff return average at 23.4, and was third in the NFL with a 10.9 punt return average.
His role on offense increased when Rodney Hampton broke his leg in a playoff win over Chicago two weeks ago. In last week's NFC championship victory over San Francisco, Meggett rushed a season-high 10 times for 36 yards and caught two passes for 15 more. He also returned five punts and two kickoffs.
Despite his diminished numbers, Meggett said he gained confidence this season. "I was more comfortable this year," he said.