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New York Giants’ Steve Weatherford Talks Mike Westhoff & His Love of Big Blue: “I’d Play for Free”

June 19th, 2013 at 2:30 PM
By Doug Rush

New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford has never made it a secret about his personal disdain for playing under New York Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff when he was a member of the team back in 2009-2010. And despite his efforts to maintain a positive public relationship, Westhoff has taken a few potshots at the punter that have resulted in retaliatory fire.

'Steve Weatherford of the New York Giants' photo (c) 2012, Marianne O'Leary - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

On Wednesday, Weatherford expressed a bit that disdain for his former position coach when he talked with Dave Hutchinson of the Newark-Star Ledger as part of a Giants summer questionnaire.

"I enjoyed playing for Rex Ryan but the special teams coach (Mike Westhoff) was very difficult to get along with both on and off the field. Here, the Giants have treated me great since the moment I walked in here. I show up early and leave late and give everything I have. I think the Giants have an appreciation for that. I absolutely love being here. I'd play for free," Weatherford said.

Before the 2011 season, the Giants brought Weatherford into training camp to compete with second-year punter Matt Dodge, with most fans thinking Weatherford would push Dodge to play better and become a better punter, but Weatherford ended up winning the punting job — a decision that the Giants have no regretted ever since. After the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI, the team used the franchise tag on Weatherford, but then signed him to a five-year deal.

Back in February, while doing an interview on WFAN with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton, Weatherford talked about how he and Westhoff did not get along during his two year stint with the other New York team.

"I didn’t get along with Mike,” Weatherford told Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton of WFAN, via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. “Mike was a really difficult person to play for.  He’s a guy that kind of harped on the negative a little bit, and life’s short, man. I’m trying to have fun.  And nobody works harder than me, so you can’t say anything like that.  It was just difficult. … I don’t know exactly why we didn’t get along, but it was a mutual parting of the ways."

Weatherford did mention that he liked playing for the Jets and head coach Rex Ryan, but not for Westhoff, who was the Jets special teams coordinator for 11 years (2001-2012) before retiring after this past season.

Prior to the Giants playing and winning Super Bowl XLVI, Weatherford noted that the reason why the 2011 season was one of his best in his career was due to current Giants special teams coordinator Tom Quinn, who has made the 30-year-old feel very comfortable in his system.

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Tags: Football, New York, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFL, Rex Ryan, Steve Weatherford, Tom Quinn

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3 Responses to “New York Giants’ Steve Weatherford Talks Mike Westhoff & His Love of Big Blue: “I’d Play for Free””

  1.  norm says:

    Speaking of Giant punters…

    Dave Jennings’ name became part of a regular catchphrase, heard pretty much every Sunday in my house growing up.

    Jennings time in Blue coincided with the darkest, dreariest time in the history of the franchise. Yet every Sunday, without fail, my father, myself, and a scattering of friends would gather around the TV to watch them anyway.

    The offense was putrid. The D was better than the O – but were nowhere close to anything that could be termed “competent.” The act of watching those games was borderline masochistic. We tuned in each week hoping to be mildly entertained and were invariably treated to three hours of near total frustration instead.

    Except for the punting. Dave Jennings was a bona fide stud. For many years, he was the best player on the team and was arguably in the conversation with the great Ray Guy for the title of best punter in the NFL. He became our consolation prize for watching. No matter whatever else happened, we were confident that Jennings would rarely disappoint, that he would acquit himself well every time he was called upon to perform, and that (thanks to the ineptitude of the offense) we’d have plenty of opportunities to see him in action every Sunday.

    One Sunday, after yet another dismal loss, my dad snapped off the TV, turned to the rest of us and said “Well, at least Jennings had a good game.” From that point on, the repetition of that phrase became part of the weekly gameday ritual; serving to pay tribute to both the awfulness of the team and the consistent excellence of its punter.

    Rest in peace, Mr. Jennings.

  2.  Sonny Mukhopadhyay says:

    Its sad, one of the greatest punters who ever put his foot to a ball.

    Interesting fact, today is the birthday of Lou Gehrig…

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