It was claimed when head coach Tom Coughlin first arrived in New York Giants blue that players didn’t want to play for him. Time and time again, this allegation has resurfaced. Folks shouldn’t let one or two players speak for the masses.
Again, players took pay cuts and restructured to remain with the team and/or help out the team in order to bring in players that are needed. How often is this heard of on all 32 NFL teams? Second, while former players have not only spoken about their relationship with coach, some have put it on tape and in writing. Soon-to-be Hall of Fame defensive end Michael Strahan hasn’t been ashamed to now admit he loves him some Coughlin. He doesn’t stand alone in his sentiments. The “haters” appear to be in the minority as we look to the last few weeks for some proof.
Recently released center David Baas had nothing but praise for the team, but gave his head coach a personal shout out.
"The Giants have been absolutely fantastic. They definitely have changed mine and my family's lives forever. Once we get the health issues taken care of, we'll go from there, and maybe there's another chance. Coming back to the Giants, who knows? They've just been really great and the medical staff has been excellent. I enjoyed playing for Tom Coughlin. I wish Tom Coughlin could have been my head coach my entire career. That would have been nice. Flaherty and everybody, they've just been awesome. I can't say enough good things about the Giants organization, the owners and everybody. It's part of the game. I thank them and definitely am grateful for everything they've done," Baas said.
Perhaps the most telling came from the most outspoken and ever so truthful player, safety Antrel Rolle.
"He's one of the best guys — people — you'll ever be around in your lifetime. Just a genuine guy. … He cares about what kind of man you want to be. What kind of Father figure. What kind of professional. That's hard to find," Rolle said recently.
And partially because of ‘Trel’s words on his coach, newly acquired defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie didn’t have to say anything really. His actions (signing with blue over green for one) spoke volumes about “I definitely believe this is a championship team…”
After his pre-signing meeting with Coughlin, guard Geoff Schwartz made positive comments about what initially “bugged” players when coach first took over — like he was setting his watch five minutes early and the fact that: "I like coaches who like structure."
Defensive back Walter Thurmond specifically mentioned Coughlin.
“Once I came here and met the coaching staff and heard the opportunities they presented to me, I couldn’t resist. It was a testament to the coaching staff. I got along with everybody, coach (Tom) Coughlin, the general manager (Jerry Reese), the DBs coaches – just great people out here," he said.
Wideout/return specialist Trindon Holliday knows he can be something here while learning from head coach.
“The team’s going in the right direction. The Giants are trying to get back to their winning ways. This offseason has had some good things and I look forward to the rest…We [he and Coughlin] had the discussions already. He [Coughlin] said him and me were going to get real acquainted with ball security. I don’t have a problem with that. I've have had some miscues of handling the ball, but it’s not going to take much for me to fix that," he said.
And again, another former blue player, wide receiver Mario Manningham, realizes just what he had while wearing the small “NY."
"I’m happy to be back. I’m real excited. It’s just great to see everybody, be around familiar faces, knowing everybody in the past and just being comfortable around everybody…Once a Giant, always a Giant. That’s how I feel. This is a very special place. I wanted to come back," Manningham said.
For many, Tom Coughlin is a part of their signing bonus. Imagine that.
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