A.J. Howard, a defensive back who spent the second half of the 2018 regular season on the New York Giants’ practice squad, will not regret bypassing signing a reserve/future deal after the season with an NFL club.

Instead, Howard is in Atlanta with the AFC champion New England Patriots as part of their practice squad. After the Giants’ season ended in Week 17, Howard was advised by his agent to sit tight and wait for a possible opportunity with a team headed to the postseason.

The patience paid off as the Patriots came calling, signing the former Appalachian State star to their practice squad on January 8.

“So I end up not signing with the Giants for that fact,” Howard said after he was advised the Pats were interested. “A week later, blessed enough to sign here. Still here.”

Anything beats wallowing under a futures deal on the roster of a 5-11 team headed home for the next several months. Howard rolled the dice and it paid off.

“I figured I’d end my season with the Giants and that would be it until next year. The end of my rookie year. Then the opportunity with the Patriots came knocking and you definitely can’t say no to that. An opportunity to go to the playoffs and also compete for the Super Bowl. That’s crazy…I never would have thought this eight, nine weeks ago. It’s good to be here.”

The Giants inked Howard to their practice squad in October after he was cut at the roster deadline by the Arizona Cardinals this past summer. The Cards had signed him as an undrafted free agent in April.