First published on Examiner
United State Army general Raymond Odierno visited the New York Giants’ Thursday practice. As head coach Tom Coughlin explains, The General did more than just watch. He also had some words for the players.
“(He spoke) about team,” Coughlin explained. “About mental, physical toughness, resiliency, about overcoming anything and everything and that if you believe in one another and have each other’s back. He equated that to the group of soldiers that captured Saddam Hussein.”
The visit meant a lot to Coughlin as he prepares the Giants to open the 2010 NFL regular season against the Carolina Panthers this weekend. “We were excited about seeing him,” Coughlin said. “I know he had some things that he was doing here in New York – did some shows and stuff. The Vice President was with him, as normally occurs. And it is good to see him home – four and one-half years. Four and one-half years in Iraq. Obviously mixed, mixed emotions about leaving and very devoted to his men. But it is great to see him. When you stop and think about the devotion that people such as the General have, to our Country, and to the opportunity for the rest of us to sleep under the blanket of freedom, it is incredible what sacrifices are made by our brave and loyal soldiers.”
Coughlin didn’t just talk about The General’s visit. He was very honest about how he sees the roster at this point of the week, saying “Well, we are excited about having the opportunity to play. I don’t use that word (“happy”) very often but I think the short week, we accomplished what we had to prior to the Patriot game. I thought we started the practice better. I still think we are practicing better. Some things, in the course of the 54-55 play practice that you would like to do better, obviously. But I think after we look at the tape we will feel better about that and we will have some answers for the things that we didn’t do very well.”
Coughlin invites at least one member of the military to meet with his players before the start of every season, hoping to install the “team first” mentality into the roster. These meet-and-greets are always spoken of fondly by both parties. They’re also a reminder that the real heroes out there aren’t the guys getting paid to play a game.
Quotes via New York Giants Communications Office
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