Aaron Ross is in his second tour of duty with the New York Football Giants and by most accounts, is having a stellar training camp. And given the opportunity to start, due to an injury to Corey Webster, Ross undoubtedly wanted to make the highlight reel, as well as pique the interest of the coaching staff against the Indianapolis Colts last night.
Mission accomplished? Well, yes and no.
Ross certainly made the highlight reel, but surely, not the way he wanted to, in the Giants' 20-12 loss to the visiting Colts at the Meadowlands.
With Indy trailing 3-0 in the first quarter, Andrew Luck underthrew Reggie Wayne in the end zone. At first, it appeared that Ross, who was in perfect position, would come up with an easy interception. But then the unthinkable happened. Ross lost to ball in the MetLife Stadium lights.
"I saw when the ball left his [Luck's] hand," Ross said after the game. "And I was thinking the whole time, this is a pick. But as I looked up, the lights kind of blinded me. I lost the ball, and I'm trying to let it fall in my lap. I tried to bring it in, but it popped back over my head."
When the ball "popped" over Ross' head, it deflected to Reggie Wayne, who may have been the most surprised person in the stadium. Wayne juggled the deflection and then dove and caught the loose ball before he went out of bounds.
Six points Indianapolis.
"One of those freak plays that don't count," Ross termed it, referring to the fact that the Colts' serendipity occurred in preseason.
In an otherwise mundane preseason contest, Ross' play became the focal point. But certainly not the way he wanted it to be.
"I'm definitely going to look at it," Ross countered, when it was suggested that he wouldn't want to view the play again.
"I'm my own biggest critic. I know what happened, but I want to see exactly what went wrong."
And instead of avoiding the unwanted attention, Ross stood tall and handled the situation with grace and some good humor, insisting that he wasn't going to shy away from his embarrassing moment, as he smiled and chuckled with reporters after the contest.
Many players would chalk the situation up to bad karma, but Ross was looking for both the bright side, as well as his own culpability in the play.
"It's one the plays that you want to happen in the preseason, and not the regular season. And the only thing I can take out of that [the play] is that I have to wear eye black and my vision contacts, so the lights don't blind me. I usually wear them."
Chances are, he won't ever forget to wear them again.