He said he was always confident that this day would come.
Still, there were some unsettling thoughts, when the serious charges against him weighed on DeAndre Baker, the days became weeks and then months and he was kept from doing what he loved doing.
“I always had trust in my lawyers and I kept praying every day,” Baker, the former Giants cornerback, told The Post on Monday in an exclusive interview. “I have a praying family. So I always knew I would get through this situation if we stayed honest with ourselves.
“There were a few little moments but just because of the situation, knowing I should be on the field. But there was never a moment when I felt this day would never come. I knew it was coming, just never knew when.”
This was the day Baker waited six months for. The State Attorney’s Office in Florida dropped all charges against him. Baker was facing four counts of robbery with a firearm stemming from a party in Miramar, Fla. back in May. Baker, 23, faced a minimum of 10 years in prison if convicted.
The legal battle cost Baker his job with the Giants, the team that traded up into the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft to select him with the No. 30 overall pick, giving him a four-year contract worth $10.5 million. The Giants released Baker back on Sept. 8.
“Did we thoroughly investigate DeAndre’s background? Absolutely,” general manager Dave Gettleman said prior to the season. “There’s nothing we didn’t know.”
Baker is a free agent and can sign anywhere. There is already interest and there is little doubt he will be picked up relatively soon. The Chiefs, Texans, Dolphins and Bengals have made inquiries, according to an NFL source.
The NFL said Baker “is free to sign with any team without any concern as to his placement on the commissioner’s exempt list,” according to a document viewed by The Post.
The Giants? They are not interested in a reunion with Baker. New head coach Joe Judge arrived this year and is trying to establish a culture. This incident, even though the charges against Baker were dismissed, does not sit well with the new regime. Also, Baker played poorly and at times displayed attitude issues as a rookie, although his performance improved late in the 2019 season.
Baker said he has kept up “good contact” with several current Giants players who “sent nice messages to uplift my spirits” and he harbors no ill will on the organization for parting ways with him.
“If they could have kept me they would have,” Baker said. “It was a business decision and I truly understood it.”
Baker would appreciate resuming his NFL career where he started it.
“I would have no problem going back there,” Baker said. “Yeah, I’d love to go back to the Giants.
“If I had something to say to the Giants I would say I apologize for the situation and the bad light I brought on the program, even though I was innocent, I give my apology. I think they should give me another chance because my last few games with the Giants I went out and I did pretty well and now I’m bigger, faster, stronger after working out and I’m ready to prove myself again. That’s why they should give me a chance.
“I watch their games every week. I think they got a shot at going to the playoffs this year. The defense is doing pretty good.”
The charges against Baker were dropped hours after the Broward County Sheriff’s Office arrested attorney William Dean on charges of extortion related to soliciting a cash payout for three of the four alleged witnesses in exchange for altered testimony. Baker’s attorneys, Bradford Cohen and Patrick Patel, maintained from the start Baker was the victim of an extortion scheme.
Baker described the past six months as “a very humbling experience,” adding “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.” He said “I just hope anybody in my shoes should just stay true to what they believe in, like I was. I didn’t pay anybody, because I believe in doing the right thing. I’m just ready to get back to playing football. I miss it.”
Asked what he learned from that night in May, Baker said “The company was bad, bad company I was involved with.
“Some days it felt like a nightmare, like why did this happen to me? But I guess God gave me something to shoulder and I just took it as that.”
He does not believe he is a risk to whichever team takes him on.
“I can be a great guy in any locker room they put me in,” Baker said. “I never had a record in my life. I was never in any trouble in my life and still to this day I haven’t been in any trouble, up until this event. I don’t think I’m a risk to any team. I feel like I’m a benefit to any team right now.”
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