When Ahmad Bradshaw called to give a heads-up that he was released by the Giants, Andre Brown did not take the news seriously.

“I was like, ‘yeah, right,’ ’’ Brown yesterday told The Post. “I didn’t believe it.’’

The truth sometimes hurts and Brown admitted he was “sad’’ to learn he would no longer share the offensive backfield with Bradshaw. It did not take long for that reality to set in and for Brown to set his sights on the No. 1 running back job.

“Oh yes, I’m going to prepare to be a starter,’’ Brown said. “That’s the dream job right there, to go out there and start and play for the New York Giants. I would love to do that. I’m going to put as much work as I need to put in to prepare for that role, if it happens to be me, put that faith in them that they can rely on me.’’

The Giants do not release key players without some tangible plan and, with Bradshaw purged from the roster, Brown and David Wilson are the obvious replacement parts. The two are completely disparate in their running styles; Wilson is a blur, Brown is a load.

Yet their totals from last season were similar. Brown had 73 rushing attempts, 385 yards (5.3-yard average) and a team-high eight rushing touchdowns. Wilson had 71 rushing attempts, 358 yards (5.0-yard average) and four TDs. Wilson as a first-round draft pick is a starter in waiting, but Brown was ahead of him on the depth chart before he broke his left fibula Nov. 25 in a rout of the Packers.

“Dave’s so explosive, he will give you that big play,’’ Brown said. “I’m going to go in there, I’m going to grind it out, catch the ball out of the backfield and be a capable third-down back, getting the hard yards, short-yardage and goal line, I’m that guy.’’

Indeed, Brown was that guy last season, as for the first time in a stalled NFL career he got a chance to carry the ball. Brown, 26, has been around the block, and back again. In 2009, he was a fourth-round pick of the Giants out of North Carolina State and an impressive preseason came to a halt when he ruptured his Achilles tendon late in training camp. He was cut by the Giants the following summer and in 2010 he bounced from the Broncos to the Colts to the Panthers to the Redskins, getting just two rushing attempts.

He signed on again with the Giants for the 2011 preseason, got cut and hooked on with the practice squad. He was signed again by the Giants before the 2012 season and this time he stuck.