The New York Giants surprised many by cutting several key contributors this week, including running back Ahmad Bradshaw, linebacker Michael Boley and defensive tackle Chris Canty. One of those shocked by the moves was defensive end/linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka who believes the Giants will miss their production. Not only did the team lose valuable members of the 2011 Super Bowl team but the players also have to see close friends go their separate ways.
“You’re definitely surprised because you’re talking about contributors, guys who were key factors in helping us win championships very recently,” Kiwanuka said. “It’s tough. You’re talking about a couple of guys, Ahmad, Boley and Canty that I was personally friends with. I’ve gotten to know them over the years as great guys…and you never want to see them leave a team.”
The most surprising cut by the Giants was starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw has led the team in rushing yards in each of the last three seasons and helped the Giants win two Super Bowls. Bradshaw is coming off another foot surgery which has been a constant issue during his entire career. Bradshaw, who is only 26-years-old, knew there was a chance he could be cut after the emergence of rookie David Wilson late in the season.
“With David there, Andre there they may have what they’re looking for with them and may be light on cash,” Bradshaw said last week.
Kiwanuka voiced his concern for the chemistry in the locker room, citing the importance of the leadership qualities of Canty and Boley.
“The chemistry in the locker room is going to be different,” Kiwanuka said. “It’s different year to year, but you take a guy like Chris Canty out of the d-line, it’s going to change things. You take a guy like Michael Boley out of the linebacker room, it’s going to change things. You’re talking about two individuals who are very intelligent, who understood what they did and were kind of like player coaches on the field.”
The Giants' defense ranked 31st in the NFL last season, and was in need of a change. Kiwanuka is confident the young players on the roster will answer the call.
“I think in that linebacker role, a guy like Spencer Paysinger, a guy we haven’t seen a lot of, he’s ready. He’s not going to need a lot of time to get accustomed to it. I think if they decide to put him in there, he’s ready to play. Also we have Chase Blackburn in there and a number of guys. On the defensive line I think we’ll still be strong.”
The Giants could also lose veteran defensive end Osi Umenyiora who is now a free agent, and though he would like to stay a Giant, the team's financial situation may not alow it.
“He’s another guy who has got another four or five years of great football left in him,” Kiwanuka said. “He can be a starting defensive end for a number of teams. I’d love to have him back, he’s another guy I’m friends with, but I know if it doesn’t happen he’ll be out there on the field elsewhere.”
Though Kiwanuka doesn't like seeing Bradshaw, Canty and Boley go, he understands the NFL is a business, and management has to do what's best for the team.
“We know that we’re playing on borrowed time throughout our careers,” Kiwanuka said. “I know all of them will land on their feet. This is the NFL, it happens every single year. For those guys who got let go, I just hope we don’t have to see them too early.”
Also…Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty, David Wilson, Football, Michael Boley, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora
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