AP NEWS

Tom Coughlin wears Giants pride on his sleeve

November 9, 2016

By ART STAPLETON

Staff writer

Tom Coughlin surprised the football public that will always consider him older than old school a few years ago when he revealed his willingness to finally send text messages to those closest to him.

Fast forward to now and that has been the best way for Coughlin to keep in touch with his former coaches and players in the middle of their first season without the veteran head coach leading the way.

Now 70, Coughlin said he reaches out regularly via text to Ben McAdoo, his successor as head coach; defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo; quarterback Eli Manning, with whom he won two Super Bowls; Odell Beckham Jr.; Victor Cruz and others, offering congratulations on recent wins and good luck for the rest of the season.

In a conference call Tuesday celebrating his upcoming entrance into the Giants’ Ring of Honor on Monday night against the Bengals, Coughlin admitted that he would be lying if he said he didn’t miss coaching after parting ways with the franchise following last season.

“Am I missing the sideline?” Coughlin said, repeating the second part of a reporter’s question before answering: “I would be less than honest if I had told you that I didn’t miss the sideline.”

Despite his frustrating exit on the heels of three consecutive losing campaigns and four without a trip to the playoffs, Coughlin promised reporters he remains a fan of the Giants and praised their ability to find ways to win this season – something they failed to do in what became his final campaign after a 12-year tenure that included a pair of remarkable Super Bowl triumphs.

“I am proud of Ben, proud of the job he is doing, proud of the coaches that I brought there, the players,” said Coughlin, now the NFL’s senior advisor to football operations. “Someone asked me at the beginning of the season that question about rooting for the Giants and the answer that I gave was an honest answer: I will always root for the Giants.”

All three Ring of Honor inductees were linked – Coughlin, former captain and defensive end Justin Tuck and former general manager Ernie Accorsi, who took the lead on building the Super Bowl foundation in 2007 and ’11, including the draft day acquisition of Eli Manning.

“To have my family name along with the 42 great names of what is being recognized as the finest Giants of all-time is of real significance to me,” said Coughlin, who would not speculate as to whether a return to coaching is in his future. “And I think back to my mother, God bless her, when I was named the head coach of the New York Giants, she was very sick at the time and I had an opportunity to get up to central New York to see her on occasion and I can remember her saying, ‘Thank God for the Giants.’ That is kind of the way I think she would feel today and the way that our family will feel because we will have a great representation on Monday night.”

HOPE FOR CRUZ: Further testing on Cruz’s injured ankle came back clean Tuesday night, meaning a low-grade sprain for the former Pro Bowl wide receiver. Cruz, who turns 30 on Friday, will continue to receive treatment and the team will evaluate his status when the Giants practice Thursday. Cruz could be ready to play as soon as Monday’s game, but that determination won’t be made until the medical staff sees how his ankle responds. Undrafted rookie Roger Lewis Jr. caught his second career touchdown against the Eagles after receiving a significant bump in playing time in Cruz’s absence. Lewis likely earned an increase in snaps even before Cruz rolled his ankle.