While both sides continue to claim that a new labor deal is close to being done, the talks continue to drag on and keep everyone waiting in the wings for a final decision from the players and owners. But that doesn’t mean that current players aren’t open to talking about the situation or what they expect when an agreement is finally made. New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw is no exception.
Yesterday, Bradshaw was interviewed by WQAM’s Sid Rosenberg. During the interview, he bounced back and forth like a ping pong ball between saying he wants to stay in New York and saying that he wouldn’t mind playing in Miami for the Dolphins.
As soon as the new labor deal is put in place, Bradshaw will be a free agent. He has said on more than one occasion that he wants to stay in New York and the Giants have reciprocated the sentiment, saying that he is a top priority. But the Giants will have a huge problem if the labor deal is agreed upon as it stands. If the provision for a soft cap for veteran players is put in place, the Giants will surely benefit, but it’s hard to say if they’ll still have the funds to pay Bradshaw what he’ll be asking for. There’s another problem. Bradshaw believes he should be a starter:
“It seemed like they were going to get both of us back. They talked about it, but they know I’m not going to go for nothing less,” Bradshaw said of himself and Jacobs. “With Brandon, they have him for two more years and they know what to expect from him. But with me, I just want to be a feature back. I feel like I can carry the ball a ton of times a game and I feel like I can put it on my shoulders.” (The Star Ledger)
The Giants gave Bradshaw a chance to be the starter. Six fumbles in the first ten games dropped him back behind fellow running back Brandon Jacobs, and with good reason. While Bradshaw is an excellent back, and not one I’d be willing to give up lightly, he has got to learn how to hold on to the ball. Bradshaw ended the season with seven fumbles. Only Peyton Hillis out of Cleveland had more with eight.
During the interview, Bradshaw said some really nice things about head coach Tom Coughlin:
“You know what, Coughlin’s a great guy, man. He treats me like a son,” said Bradshaw, who rushed for 1,235 yards last season, his first time cracking 1,000 yards. “I don’t know about the other guys and I don’t know if it’s what you do for him or what not. I can’t speak for anybody else. But he’s a great coach, he gets you prepared for every game. I can’t say anything about Coach Coughlin.”
But then he followed it with a nice comment about Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano:
“You know what, you have to look at it like Coach Coughlin, he has his ways. He’s showed everybody what he can do,” Bradshaw said. “With Coach Sparano, I’d like to come to Miami and play for him anytime, if that happens.”
So he loves New York but wouldn’t mind playing in Miami. Who wouldn’t want to spend time in a place where it’s almost always sunny and warm? New York has seasons, and football season gets quite cold in November and December. But I don’t think that’s a major issue for Bradshaw. He’s been playing in New York for four years, he’s used to the weather and all that comes with it. The thing that gets me is his trying to play both sides.
“There are great people down here. It’s beautiful, the weather is amazing, that’s a good thing for me,” he said. “The fans are great in New York. Just the atmosphere down here in Miami, it kind of reminds me of it.”
I’m sure there are some comparisons that could be made between the two cities, but there has to be something underlying here. Bradshaw would easily be the starting running back in Miami, and they could definitely pay him what he wants. I think that’s what is really going on here. He can make all the comparisons in the world between the two cities and coaches, but when it really comes down to it, it’s all about Ahmad.
Bradshaw says he’s going to give the Giants the first chance in this situation, but he’s still going to go wherever he wants to go.
“It’s all in the Giants’ hands. I want to be a Football Giant, I love the Giants’ organization,” Bradshaw said during an interview with WQAM’s Sid Rosenberg. “It’s all a process, it’s a business, man. I just have to go with the flow and see what happens.
“I love New York, and that gives them the upper hand. But like I said, it’s all a business. … I take it very seriously where I want to be. I love New York, I’d love to stay there but then the money factor comes in.”
If he can be the starting running back and get the bulk of the carries while making the money he thinks he deserves, then that’s what he’s going to do. Football is a business and the object in business is to make money. And if the Giants can re-work his contract and make everything fit under the salary cap, but they can’t ensure him the starting spot, I think we’ll see him in a different color once the season starts.
Personally, I would hate to see Bradshaw go somewhere else. He really fits the Giants game and the combination of Bradshaw and Jacobs is truly dangerous. But, as with everything else in the NFL right now, it’s a wait and see game.
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