If you've heard it once, you've heard it one thousand times: New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is a strict disciplinarian and new arrivals have a tough time adjusting to him. It's been that way since he took over in 2004 and drove running back Tiki Barber into retirement, and nearly did the same to defensive end Michael Strahan. Alas, Coughlin changed his ways a bit, but playing for him continues to be a transition for most players, including safety Antrel Rolle.
After signing with the Giants at the start of the 2010 season, Rolle experienced some culture shock coming to New York from Arizona, and from playing for Dennis Green and Ken Whisenhunt to Coughlin. In fact, it was so rough for Rolle from the get go that he reached out to Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis for advice on how he could adjust to his new coach.
"When I was having a difficult time with adapting to Coach Coughlin’s ways, he was the guy that I called upon," Rolle said during his weekly WFAN appearance. "I got his number and I called him, and I just asked him, 'How should I handle this situation?' I was like, 'It’s extremely difficult for me; I’m not used to this,' and so forth and so on. We had an hour-long conversation just about life, he was telling me how I should approach the situation, how I should be able to deal with coach Coughlin but still get some things across."
Rolle was openly critical of Coughlin and the schedule he kept in the early days of his Giants career, but his conversation with Lewis helped correct what ailed him. Since then, Rolle has been openly and admittedly "all in." He and Coughlin now appear to have a great relationship and that's some he, at least in some small way, credits to Lewis.
"I called on someone who I figured had been through it all," Rolle added. “It boiled down to me going to someone who I can consider a mentor, someone who I know is going to give it to me straight and someone who is going to tell me something I need to hear, as opposed to something that I want to hear. He told me exactly what I needed to hear, and from that day on I never, ever had an issue; I've never had any concerns. I can honestly say we’re great. This is the best I’ve ever felt and it’s going to continue to stay on this path."
In a somewhat ironic twist, Rolle now acts as a mentor to many of his Giants teammates; he now fills the role (not pun intended) Lewis once filled for him. And although he does a lot of talking (which recently earned him the George Young Good Guy award), he never fails to give 110%.
Also…Antrel Rolle, Baltimore, Baltimore Ravens, Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Ray Lewis, Tom Coughlin