Matt Dodge finds a way to remain upbeat

Matt Dodge avoided “SportsCenter” and every other program involving highlights from Sunday’s action.

Then, the rookie punter for the New York Giants checked to make sure he still had a locker when he reported for work this morning.

That’s the life in the NFL the day after you punted to DeSean Jackson when you were supposed to punt the ball out of bounds and instead he returned your low liner 65 yards for a touchdown on the game’s final play.

“It’s the kind of the thing, you put the human element in sports, stuff happens sometimes,” Dodge said. “And as much as I wanted to hit that out of bounds and give us a chance in overtime, it just didn’t work out. I mean, he actually bobbled the punt and then picked it up and just did what he’s done so many times.”

Dodge, a seventh-round draft pick from East Carolina, has relied on a tight knit circle of family and supporters to remain positive following a game that will go down in infamy. His name is going to be linked with Joe Pisarcik whether he likes it or not. Same teams. Same city for the game. One bad, bad blunder.

“I’m still here obviously,” Dodge said when asked about his confidence level. “I came in and my locker was still here. So that was good. I’m a confident guy, regardless. Football doesn’t define me. I know it’s my job and everything, and I didn’t get it done. But I still walked out with my head high. I had family here, loving on me, and I actually had my pastor from back home here last night. So it was good. I had a lot of support.”

The explanation given after the game by coach Tom Coughlin was that Dodge struggled to execute a punt out of bounds because the snap was high and he feared pressure from the Eagles.

“Yeah, I mean, I caught the ball,” Dodge said. “It wasn’t like I had to jump and run around. I caught it cleanly and just sometimes when it’s high, I guess, in that situation, they’re bringing a lot of pressure. So I just really tried to get it off and lost some technique. Yeah, it was unfortunate how it worked out. But no, the snap, no, it was fine.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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