A couple months ago, you’d have been able to score some tantalizing long odds if you’d bet on Darius Slayton being one of the Giants’ key contributors in November.
Back in training camp, it didn’t even look like he was going to make it to the regular season on the Giants roster. The depth of the receiver depth chart was seemingly pushing him out, either to be traded or released.
Then some injuries occurred — including starter Sterling Shepard, lost for the season to a knee injury — and there was Slayton to save the day.
The Giants’ 25-year-old receiver in his fourth NFL season — who didn’t even dress for a game until Week 4 this season — was as big a reason for the Giants’ 24-16 win over the Texans Sunday at MetLife Stadium as anyone wearing a Giants uniform.
He caught three passes for 95 yards, including a dynamic 54-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the third quarter that gave them a 14-3 lead at the time. In the second quarter, his 36-yard catch-and-run to the Houston 6-yard line led to the Giants’ first touchdown of the game.
“I love the way he’s playing,” Shepard said after the game. “We’ve always called him ‘Big-play Slay.’ He can make stuff happen in the blink of an eye, like you saw today. He came through.’’
Despite the uncertainty about his roster status back in the summer, Slayton never squawked the way Jets receiver Elijah Moore did, for example, complaining publicly about his lack of chances and demanding a trade.
“It’s just the way I was raised by my parents,” Slayton told The Post. “All my life playing football, if something wasn’t going my way or I felt like I wasn’t getting the ball or getting enough plays, they never told me, ‘Oh, we’re going to go talk to the coach.’ They used to always say, ‘Well, what are you doing wrong, what can you do better to improve your situation?’
“That’s the approach I always take no matter whether it’s right now when I’m starting and playing pretty well or in training camp.’’
As The Post spoke to Slayton on his way out of the locker room, Giants running back Saquon Barkley politely interrupted the interview and said, “That boy’s good.”
Yes, he is.
Slayton always has handled himself with class and maturity, and it’s worked out for him — deservingly so. He kept his head down and kept working. And on Sunday, he helped the Giants get to 7-2.
No play was bigger than that 54-yard TD, on which he left Houston safety Jalen Pitre on his backside with a move and bolted down the left sideline.
“When you’re fast like me, and you tell everybody you’re fast, it goes through your mind like, ‘I can’t get caught,’ ’’ Slayton said with a smile. “If you want to be considered a special player, you’ve got to make special plays.’’
Jones: “It was just a great play by him, really; he lost the guy [Pitre] on the route.’’
Giants head coach Brian Daboll: “Testament to Slay. We’ve had confidence in him. He’s had to earn it, and he’s had to fight through some tough times. I’d say, [he’s] earning it.’’
Slayton is the kind of player Daboll wants on his roster.
“It goes to show his mentality and the way nothing can shake him,” Shepard said. “He even started at the bottom of the totem pole when he first came in [in 2019] and he worked his way up and started to make big plays for us his rookie season. Things were stacked against him in the beginning and it never shook him. He just kept on playing, kept on doing his job.
“If you got that mentality, you’re going to last a long time in this league. He’s got it in him.”
Slayton conceded that his sometimes-bumpy NFL ride “has been a journey.”
“I just try to take everything one day at a time and make plays when they come my way,’’ he said. “That’s gotten me here and I hope it keeps me around.’’
He’s not going anywhere.
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