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Giants Journal

The Giants blog for Lower Hudson Valley fans.

Great Mind Gone

Ernie Palladino
July
28

The day just got a little lousier in my opinion. Jim Johnson, the great Eagles defensive coordinator whose attacking philosophy was brought north by former Giants DC Steve Spagnuolo, died at age 68 this afternoon of cancer.

Always loved listening to him at playoff time. Classy guy, too. He’ll be missed.

UPDATE: Here’s a few thoughts from Tom Coughlin, released in a statement through the Giants’ PR department. Seems I’m not the only guy who thought Johnson was a first-class human.

“It is a sad, very sad, day,” Coughlin said. “I talked recently to (Eagles video director) Mike Dougherty and asked him to let Jim know that I was thinking about him, and I had dropped Jim a note to let him know as well. Forget about what kind of coach he was…he was an excellent, excellent defensive coach, and he trained others to be the same. We know what Steve Spagnuolo meant to us. We had great respect for Jim, and he had great respect for us. I didn’t know Jim personally, but we would always talk to each other, mostly about the NFC East and what a great, competitive division it is. It was a respectful critique about what great players, coaches and organizations there are within the division. In talking with people who worked with Jim, you sense what a class act Jim was. He was great to work with and for, and he had his priorities in order. His players loved to play for him and his coaches loved to coach with him. It is a sad day for the National Football League to lose somebody the quality of Jim Johnson. It is a sad note on which to start the season. He coached right up to the very end.”

EP

Posted by Ernie Palladino on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
Category: Uncategorized
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Mara defends Pierce

Ernie Palladino
July
28

Giants president John Mara just released a statement in defense of linebacker Antonio Pierce, a day after a published report indicated the Manhattan district attorney would seek criminal charges against him for his actions after Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg early in the morning at a Manhattan nightclub.

Here’s the text of Mara’s statement. It should be noted that this plot could certainly get a lot thicker very soon, since Burress is due to testify in front of a grand jury tomorrow at 10 a.m. It was Pierce, remember, who not only took the bleeding Burress to the hospital, but also took the 40-caliber Glock from the Latin Quarter’s floor and deposited it first in his glove compartment, and then at Burress’ home.

“We have refrained from making any public statement regarding the legal proceedings against Plaxico Burress out of respect for the process,” Mara said. “Our organization, including Antonio Pierce, has cooperated fully with the police and the DA’s office from the outset of their respective investigations. However, since the District Attorney’s office has seen fit to publicly discuss the details of the potential case against Burress and has suggested it will seek to charge Antonio, we feel it is necessary to offer the following: while we in no way condone Antonio’s decision to be in a nightclub in Manhattan less than two days before a game, we cannot understand the DA’s position that Antonio is subject to criminal charges.

“When this incident occurred, Antonio reacted out of concern for the health and well-being of Plaxico Burress. His first priority was to make sure Plaxico received proper medical attention for what very well could have been a life-threatening wound. There was no criminal intent on the part of Antonio, who was thrust into this predicament simply because he accompanied Plaxico that evening and because he made the decision to immediately take Plaxico to the hospital. We believe it is unwarranted for the DA’s office to press criminal charges against Antonio under these circumstances.”

EP

Posted by Ernie Palladino on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
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Vick Reinstated, Kind Of

Ernie Palladino
July
27

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has reinstated Michael Vick with various conditions attached. Here’s the press release my friend, Jets writer Jane McManus, just posted on her blog. Of course, now he has to find somebody who’ll have this gargantuan public relations problem on his team.

The Giants, perhaps? Maybe when pigs fly, but not right now.

MICHAEL VICK REINSTATED ON CONDITIONAL BASIS

May Practice Now and Play in Final Two Preseason Games;
Tony Dungy to Serve as Mentor; Commissioner to Decide on
Full Reinstatement for Regular Season by Week 6

Commissioner ROGER GOODELL notified MICHAEL VICK today that he has been reinstated to the NFL on a conditional basis and will be considered for full reinstatement and to play in regular-season games by Week 6 (October 18-19) based on the progress he makes in his transition plan.

Under the conditions of the reinstatement, Vick may participate without delay in preseason practices, workouts, meetings, and may play in his club’s final two preseason games. Once the regular season begins, Vick may participate in all team activities other than games, subject to specific guidelines developed by the NFL Player Personnel Department that will be communicated to Vick and all clubs. Vick is currently an unrestricted free agent eligible to sign with any NFL club. Vick is eligible to be paid based on terms negotiated with a club.

In addition, TONY DUNGY has agreed to continue his work with Michael Vick as an advisor and mentor. Commissioner Goodell will periodically evaluate Vick’s progress under this transitional step approach and consider full reinstatement for play in regular-season games by Week 6.

In a letter to Vick today, Commissioner Goodell wrote: “My decision at that time will be based on reports from outside professionals, your probation officer, and others charged with supervising your activities, the quality of your work outside football, the absence of any further adverse involvement in law enforcement, and other concrete actions that you take that are consistent with your representations to me.”

In addition, Commissioner Goodell wrote: “This step-by-step approach is not meant to be a further punishment and should not be viewed as such. Instead, it is intended to maximize the prospect that you can successfully resume your career and your life. I believe that a transitional approach with a strong network of support will give you the best opportunity to manage effectively the various issues and pressures that you will inevitably face in the coming weeks and months and earn your full reinstatement.”

Vick had been suspended indefinitely since August of 2007 after pleading guilty to federal criminal charges relating to his involvement in an interstate dog fighting enterprise. He was released from federal custody last Monday (July 20) but is still serving three years of probation.

In reviewing the matter, Commissioner Goodell considered the court records; written submissions made by Vick, his representatives, and others; reports and recommendations of outside professionals; interviews with family and associates conducted by NFL Security personnel; numerous conversations that Commissioner Goodell had with current and former players and others; and a hearing on July 22 at which the commissioner spoke in person with Vick, his representatives, and NFLPA officials.

Following are additional excerpts from Commissioner Goodell’s letter to Vick:

“Among the conditions of this reinstatement, you are required to abide by the terms of the supervised release that were imposed on you by the court, which include not committing any further crime, limits on who you may associate with, prohibitions regarding drug and alcohol use, possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, and forbidding you to own, possess or be involved with the sale of any dog.”

“Apart from these conditions, you have submitted to me a written plan concerning your proposed living arrangements, how you will manage your financial affairs, counseling and mentoring plans, and your proposed work with the Humane Society and other groups. You have committed to me that you intend to abide by this plan, and as I said when we met, you are accountable for doing so.”

“I am also encouraged by your recognition that you cannot do this yourself, and that outside mentors and continued counseling will provide you with valuable support and assistance. After discussing possible mentors with you, I have asked Coach Tony Dungy to continue his work with you and to initiate a more formal mentoring relationship with you. Earlier today, we discussed in detail with Coach Dungy the precise nature of that relationship, and I share your view that Coach Dungy can help you in many ways as you rebuild your life and resume your career. I will stay in close touch with Coach Dungy and his views will be part of my decision concerning whether and when you return to play.  I encourage you and Coach Dungy to select other mentors and advisors who can help in other phases of your life.”

“In deciding whether to reinstate a player, I have stressed my belief that playing in the NFL is a privilege. It is not an entitlement. Everyone fortunate enough to be part of the league is held to a standard of conduct higher than that generally expected in society and is correspondingly accountable when that standard of conduct is not met. I have also endorsed an approach under which players who have been suspended for a significant amount of time, as you have been, may through a series of steps demonstrate that they have addressed their prior problems, that they can make good decisions, and that they conduct themselves in a way that is lawful, responsible, and consistent with NFL values.”

“As I emphasized to you when we met, as I have said in other cases, it is actions that count. I accept that you are sincere when you say that you want to, and will, turn your life around and that you intend to be a positive role model for others. I am prepared to offer you that opportunity. Whether you succeed is entirely in your hands.”

“Needless to say, your margin for error is extremely limited. I urge you to take full advantage of the resources available to support you and to dedicate yourself to rebuilding your life and your career.  If you do this, the NFL will support you.”

Posted by Ernie Palladino on Monday, July 27th, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
Category: Uncategorized
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Pierce Still On Hook

Ernie Palladino
July
27

Plaxico Burress and his gun troubles may be long gone from the Giants, but they still may have to deal with the fallout from the wide receiver’s accidental marksmanship at a Manhattan nightclub eight months ago.

In a story in the New York Post, outgoing Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said middle linebacker Antonio Pierce may still be charged with illegally possessing the 40-caliber Glock that Burress shot himself in the thigh with during an evening’s entertainment at The Latin Quarter in Manhattan. Pierce, you may remember, is the one who took the gun from the floor and put it in his glove compartment as he transported Burress to the hospital.

Using unnamed sources, the report said a security guard at the Latin Quarter may finger Pierce, and that could result in an indictment and potential jail time.

Now, from a football standpoint only — no moralizing for once — this would be devestating for a linebacking corps that has already lost its top free agent pickup, Michael Boley, for most of camp to hip surgery. He’ll also sit out a one-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. To lose Pierce, a team leader, would present huge problems in both chemistry and production.

That hasn’t happened yet, and it might not happen. Pierce continues to prepare with the rest of his teammates for Sunday’s reporting date. But it just goes to show how wrong were those people who said Burress only hurt himself. His actions still have reaching effects, not just to the Giants, but to personnel at the hospital who also face possible punishment.

Burress hurt a lot of people.

EP

Posted by Ernie Palladino on Monday, July 27th, 2009 at 8:45 am |
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See a replay

Ernie Palladino
July
23

Just got off from our Giants/Jets web chat. If you missed it, you can see a replay later on at LoHud.com/protalklive.

EP

Posted by Ernie Palladino on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
Category: Uncategorized
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Today’s the Day!

Ernie Palladino
July
23

Yep. Jane and I will be doing our live chat at 1 p.m. today to set up the Giants and Jets training camps. Ought to be a fun time.

Send in your questions at LoHud.com/protalklive and we’ll be happy to address each and every one of them, as time allows. And, as an added bonus, you’ll get a chance to ogle two the paper’s most attractive people. A win-win situation, if you ask me.

EP

Posted by Ernie Palladino on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 at 10:01 am |
Category: Uncategorized
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One Day To Go!!!!!

Ernie Palladino
July
22

Just over 24 hours now until my gal Jane McManus and I go head-to-head on a Giants/Jets combined web chat to set up training camp. We’re going on at 1 p.m. tomorrow, and you can send in your questions and take a look at LoHud.com/protalklive.

EP

Posted by Ernie Palladino on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 at 8:33 am |
Category: Uncategorized
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AP’s Getting Ready

Ernie Palladino
July
21

I’m not a huge Twitter guy, even though you’ll see my stuff on it from time to time. But I do follow Antonio Pierce, who seemingly can’t live without it. He tweets like 70 times a day, it seems. But it’s all good. Rah-rah Giants and all that stuff.

He did write something interesting today, though. He was heading out for his THIRD workout today. Talk about a guy eager to get going. He’s eagerly anticipating two-a-days by doing three-a-days. Nice ramp-up to Aug. 2.

The way I see it, it’s only more evidence that AP is taking even more of a leadership role on defense than he has in the past. With his Twittering, tweeting, teenying, whatever the heck it is, he gets easy access to any teammate with a Blackberry, which is, like, everybody. And they see he’s cramming in three workouts a day. Can’t get more motivational than that.

I’m one of those old coots who don’t see a lot of positives in these social networking sites. But I think in this case, Pierce is using it to do some long-distance team-building, and that’s a good thing.

So here’s the question. Can players and coaches use sites like Twitter and Facebook to bring their teams together before they actually, you know, get together? We already know Rex Ryan sent his guys an angry e-mail over predictions of a last-place finish this year. But these sites are different. Give me your opinion.

EP

Posted by Ernie Palladino on Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
Category: Uncategorized
| | 3 Comments »

Just a reminder

Ernie Palladino
July
21

Jane McManus and I will do a live web chat Thursday at 1 p.m. on the upcoming Giants and Jets training camps and we’ll be taking questions throughout. So tune on in. You can send your questions and watch the chat at http://LoHud.com/protalklive just by clicking in. So CLICK!

EP

Posted by Ernie Palladino on Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 at 8:47 am |
Category: Uncategorized
| | 1 Comment »

He’s Out!

Ernie Palladino
July
20

Hey, Michael Vick was released from federal custody today. Now, you and I both know the Giants won’t touch him even as a backup to Eli Manning; not with the baggage he’s going to carry around for the rest of his life.

But let’s use our imaginations for a second. Let’s say he’s managed to stay in some semblance of shape since he went into the big house after the 2006 season. What kind of offense would the Giants be if they did take a chance on him? What kind of trouble would he cause? You think Tom Coughlin could turn him around?

Just a little conversation for an idle summer’s day, with no possibility of it happening at all. But I’d be interested to know what you think.

I know what I think. It has something to do with a doberman and a very, very small room.

EP

Posted by Ernie Palladino on Monday, July 20th, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
Category: Uncategorized
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