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Toomer critical of Giants

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Toomer critical of Giants

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:21 pm


Full transcript of Amani Toomer's criticizing the New York Giants

by Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger
Wednesday January 28, 2009, 3:18 PM

TAMPA - Okay, so here's the entire transcript of Amani Toomer's session with the media today after an event orchestrated by the NFL, The Home Depot, organizers from the nonprofits KaBOOM!, CDC of Tampa and Tampa Bay Family, CDC, to build a playground in East Tampa. Reading all of Toomer's answers will give you a better feel for what he was trying to say:

(Tough being here knowing you beat Steelers and Cards?)
Yeah, but I think we know why we weren't here. That's all I can say.

(How rough to finish up that way not knowing what your future holds?)
I knew regardless of the outcome, if we would have even won the game, my situation was probably still up in the air. But I'm going to enjoy being a free agent, explore all my options and see what it all comes down to.

(You're going to enjoy the process?)
I'm going to try.

(Gotta be tough because you haven't faced it before?)
Yeah, no, I've never been a free agent.

(What's there to enjoy?)
I don't know, just going around, shopping yourself and basically seeing what the league thinks of you. I'm pretty excited, I got some good responses so far, so I'm pretty excited to see how it's going to turn out.

(Has there been silence from the Giants?)
I don't know. My agent and them have been talking a little bit, but I just think the way the season ended and how they started going away from me at the end of the year, I think it ultimately hurt the team and I think contributed greatly to our situation right now, being out of it.

(Not throwing the ball to you?)
I just think the last couple of games I wasn't a big part of the offense and we lost ... a big percentage of the games (four of the last five). I feel like you can't tell me (that) didn't play a big role in it. I think it did.

(You said you didn't know if you'd have an increased role without Plaxico Burress.)
Which was smart because ultimately it ended up being no. The first game (without Burress) I had one of my best games of the year. From that game on, I don't know what happened.

(Were you not in the game plan?)

(You weren't?)
I mean, I was in the game plan, but you have different reads and stuff like that, and it just didn't work out for me.

(Anything physically or emotionally you could have done?)
I think I couldn't have. And I think that's what's (allowing) me to sleep at night. I don't think I could have done anything more. What ended up happening was a decision - and I don't know from what level it (came) - was made and that's kind of what happened.

(Do you want to come back to a limited role or go some place where you'll be used more?)
That's a good question. And that's (something) I'm going to have to explore. But that's definitely a good question.

(At your age, you feel you can still be productive?)
Oh, no question. No question.

(Does this taint what you feel about the organization?)
I don't think so. It's just disappointing. It just seems like some of those games, it didn't seem the same. Last year, when everybody's jobs were on the line, everything was pedal to the metal. All of a sudden, this year, it's a different kind of feeling.

(A little complacency?)
I don't know if it's complacency. I don't know.

(Tom Coughlin's approach was to look forward, not back. Did guys accept that?)
Oh yeah. I think guys accepted it. I just think the way in which we approached some of these games, I questioned it going in. I didn't say anything because I wanted to try to make it work out. But in the end, ultimately my suspicions came true. And at the end of the (playoff loss to the Eagles), after the other game (the regular-season loss to Philly), I wasn't surprised at all. I felt like our approach wasn't the same as it was last year.

(Are you going to be honest with yourself about how much you have left? Because the Giants might be thinking you don't have a lot left.)
They didn't think Kurt Warner had much left. See him now. They didn't think Kerry Collins had much left. See him now. I could go back to the list. Ike Hilliard. I could go on and on. But ultimately, there are other teams and hopefully I'll get another chance to play.

(Think it'll be weird to play for somebody else?)
Yeah, it'll be strange, but at the end of the day you have to take nostalgia and all that stuff out of it. That's pretty much for the fans and for people like that. As a player, you have to kind of divorce yourself from that and look at it as a business. It's a hard process for me, but I think that's what I'm coming to grips with.

(Are you open to returning to the Giants?)
Oh definitely. Always. But I definitely think, with the current situation, I don't think I can go back.

(When you say the preparation wasn't right, do you mean effort, game plans, coaching?)
I'll leave that up to you. I don't really want to taint the year. I think we had a great year. I just felt like I noticed a difference. That's all I could say.

(Expressing frustrations by being excluded?)
It doesn't really matter. It doesn't matter. Nothing's going to be solved by me voicing my opinion, so I like to keep most of them to myself.

(After the loss to Philly and the following day, you didn't talk to the media. Were you upset?)
It was really disappointing. I just didn't feel like I had anything positive to say. So if you don't have anything positive to say, you don't say anything. I got a chance to think about things and go home, go on vacation.

(Do you have a preference in your mind where you want to play? You haven't had to think about this stuff before.)
No I haven't. But I'm just going to try to enjoy it. Like I said, I'm getting a good response, so we'll see.

(Have you talked to Ike Hilliard?)
No, I haven't.

(What do your receiving records mean?)
That I was there a long time. (laughs) No, I'm definitely proud of those. But 13 years helps you out a little bit.

(Giants need help at WR and you're near the top of the list of free-agent WRs)
I haven't seen the list of receivers, so I don't know what to tell you.

(Isn't it strange then the Giants wouldn't want to make you a big part of their offense in the future?)
It is, but those are decisions that have been made. I can only do what I can do as a player and that's play. And then, have an agent who's going to work out all the details.

(Do you think the decision has been made?)
I think toward the end of the season, it became very apparent, especially after coming off one of my best games of the year and, all of a sudden, I get my playing time cut in half when we played the Eagles the first time. It was a statement to me.

(You think anyone in the organization owed you an explanation?)
I don't know. I'm not looking for anything like that. Words don't mean anything. I just wanted to go out there and play. And that's it.

(Even if they had explained it, you wouldn't have been happy?)
No, I mean, it doesn't really make much sense when you think about it. And ultimately, us not being able to throw the ball effectively and keep the defenses off-guard ... I mean, they try to rely on the offensive line. And I think our offensive line is great, but they're great when we mix it up. You do one thing or the other, every offensive line struggles. I think that's kind of how it ended up.

(Physically, how do you feel?)
I feel great. The last three or four weeks, I didn't really play that much, so I was fine.

(Do you look back and think you should have spoken up?)
No, because no matter what, they have an agenda. They're going to go through what they're going to do. I could talk until I'm blue in the face. It's not going to make any difference. I know after dealing with the head coach, that's kind of how he is. You can talk to him and do all of that, but if he has something in his mind, that's what's going to go on.

(Question was inaudible on tape)
I look at it this way - there are many years when I was on the right side of politics. This year, I ended up being on the wrong side. Now, I can't get mad at that. It works for you sometimes, it works against you sometimes.

(When were you on the right side?)
There have been times when they emphasized me and there are times when they didn't. This was one of the times they didn't. They moved out receivers for me, so it all comes full-circle. You can't get mad at it; it's just how the business works.

(But everybody has their time to be phased out. Is it your time?)
I definitely don't think it's my time.

(You think you'll have a few more good years and people will say, "They should have re-signed him?")
That's what the plan is. (laughs)

(Question inaudible)
It's a very touchy situation for me right now. We'll see.

It's hard not to get emotional because I've been there so long, but I've seen it happen many, many times before to other players. It's part of the business. We have a disagreement - they have one opinion of me and I have another. When a relationship is good, it's good; when it's not, it's not.

(Every player wants to be a Tiki or Strahan and say when they're done. You think that would happen with you?)
Yeah, I did. Honestly, I did because I feel I can still play.

(You think you'll realize when you can't play?)
Yeah, I'm very honest with myself. Everybody who knows me knows that. And they know if I felt like I was going to hurt the team or not contribute, I definitely know when to say when. But right now, I thought down the stretch I was readying myself for a long run and it just never came.

(Question inaudible)
The real gut feelings you have, you always have to listen to them because half of football is emotion. And when the emotion goes a certain way, it goes that way for a reason. You can try to convince yourself otherwise all you want to, but at the end of the day, you know what's going to happen.

(You want Eli Manning as your QB?)
Yeah, definitely. I'm a big fan of Eli. He's one of the best guys on the team. I really respect him as a person. For him to handle the situation since he's got to the Giants the way he has is very commendable.

(The game plan went away from you, not Eli? He decides where he throws the ball, right?)
Yeah, but I don't think he's back there footloose and fancy-free. They have an agenda. They have their little quarterback meetings on Thursday for a reason. And they don't just have them and not have the receivers and anybody else who's involved in the offense around for a reason.

(Ever feel like saying something?)
I felt like it wouldn't do any good. I'm not going to sit there and make myself look like an idiot. It's not going to do anything but make me look like an idiot. No good is going to possibly come out of it. Just like I said before, they're going to do what they're going to do regardless.

(Didn't want to hear their reasoning?)
I don't expect that kind of character. Everybody's really worried about themselves in this business. Honestly, I didn't think to them it was very important.

(You said you want us to read into it, but this "agenda" you're talking about - was it to devalue you as a free agent?)
I don't know. That's looking into it. I don't think they think like that.

(Well, you said they had an agenda. What's the agenda?)
The agenda was they wanted to see what the younger guys could do.

(You think they overvalued those guys and thought they could do more than they actually could?)
That's you guys (talking). I don't know. I think they did a good job, but they hurt the team by going to one side (of the field). Even when Plax is in there, if we don't go to both sides, we're not usually as successful. We're successful when we're going both ways and the teams can't game plan against me - not because of me, but because they're not throwing to me.

(Have you talked to Plax at all?)
No, I haven't.

(Did you feel the season was going okay up until the last month?)
I think it was going all right. They tried to do it earlier in the season, but I kept playing well and keeping myself in the mix, so to speak, and then all of a sudden they didn't let me play myself out. They pulled the rug out from under me.

(So you felt things were off earlier in the season?)
Yeah, I was fighting it for as long as I could. I kept making big plays and I felt like, if they kept throwing to me, I'd keep making big plays. So I feel like they made a decision that, "We can't keep him sticking around. We've got to turn the page. We can't just keep letting this go on and on."
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Re: Toomer critical of Giants

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:28 pm

I think it is pretty clear at this point that unless something major happens, Toomer will be on another team next year.

This is a tough situation and I can see it from both sides.

From Jerry Reese's business point of view it doesn't make sense to a pay veteran like Toomer when you have a stable of good youngsters who will continue to improve; particularly as Toomer seems to be sliding down the WR pecking order anyways

This is Toomer's last shot for a good payday, he will get certainly get alot more money from another team and will have genuine starting opportunities elsewhere.

It is a sad situation and I think Toomer is handling it very well, it will be mixed emotions for me seeing Toomer in another team's jersey. Unfortunately this kind of thing is the downside of free agency; But I certainly wish Toomer all the best wherever he winds up, he has been a great WR for this franchise for a long time.
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Re: Toomer critical of Giants

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:43 pm

more from Amani

Amani Toomer uses web site in attempt to clarify comments critical of New York Giants coaching staff
by Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger

Wednesday January 28, 2009, 9:21 PM
Mike Garafolo/The Star-LedgerAmani Toomer built a playground, and then held court on his NFL future.

After criticizing the Giants' coaching staff earlier today, Amani Toomer is saying he didn't rip the coaches. In an interview posted on his personal web site, Amani Toomer suggests his comments were taken out of context.

"No, I absolutely did not intend to criticize nor did I criticize the coaching staff's game plans," Toomer said. "What I did say was that I thought the team as a whole had less focus this year than they did last year and that I almost could see this loss coming. That has nothing to do with the coaches."

But then, he mentions again how he was underutilized. And if that's not directed at the coaches, I don't know what is.

"I do however feel that I was underutilized in the last few games and as I told you earlier in an interview, I thought it was probably to try and develop the younger players," Toomer said. "But it is true that I believe I could have made a greater contribution than I did. So, I think some of what got reported was inaccurate."

Toomer also says on the site he didn't say his agent is talking to other teams, which would be a tampering violation. But he did say he "got some good responses so far" when asked about shopping himself around the league. (News flash: Everybody tampers, but nobody admits it.)

You saw the whole transcript. You make the call.
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Re: Toomer critical of Giants

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:03 am

It's too bad that Toomers road with the giants may end here but it's unferstandable from a business point of view if it comes down to money.
I also wonder why he wasn't used more than he was in the games that Plax was gone. I'm not so sure it was simply because he couldn't get open.
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Re: Toomer critical of Giants

Post  Big_Pete on Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:23 am

Toomer is clearly not the player he used to be, but he isn't washed up.

I would guess that the coaching staff don't think there is that much difference between what Toomer brings to the table and what our youngsters can do; or perhaps the front office thought they would get better match ups or reflective of the situations we were in as far as schemes, personel etc.

The youngsters do have alot more speed, so it could have been an attempt to stretch the field a bit more or expose teams loading up against the run.

I think if Toomer was going to be in the Giants plans for next year, he would have been used more towards the end of the season. Like many others I expected Toomer to take the bulk of the extra work without Burress, but obviously the coaching staff had different views.
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Re: Toomer critical of Giants

Post  gman17 on Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:11 pm

I think Toom is frustrated. I think there are several layers of frustration.

1. I think Toom is upset the Giants squandered a golden opportunity to repeat as champions. He may never get back to the Super Bowl again.

2. I think he feels disrespected. He is the leading receiver in Giants history. From his perspective, with Plax out, the coaching staff should have got him the ball. Unfortunately, for Toom, they did not.

From Coughlin's perspective, Toom must not have much left in the tank. Apparently, at this stage in his career, he does not create mismatch problems with opposing defensive backs.

This is the reason he did not get the ball thrown his way.


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