EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants were visited Friday by U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, who talked to the team about some of his experiences during the recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Odierno will be at Sunday's game against the Steelers. It's one of the NFL’s Salute to Service games.
“[He spoke of] the resiliency of the people in New Jersey and New York area, and how they’re tough and no matter what they’re not going to let these circumstances dictate to them,” Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty said. “They’re going to come back. They’re not going to let it affect what they do. Just that kind of strength.
“Just understanding that when we take the field on Sunday, that we represent these folks. That was the message, and it was a timely message and an important message.”
Coughlin said Odierno, who has 10,000 soldiers in New York City, was there Friday morning to address the team without even being asked. Coughlin has been known to bring in military officers to address the team before games. Players shook hands and spoke with some of the officers who attended practice Friday afternoon.
“I think they will take forward the toughness, the resiliency of the people in this greater New York-New Jersey-Connecticut, the entire Eastern Seaboard, that’s been affected in such a way by this huge storm. I think that the message is the toughness here, the resiliency,” Coughlin said. “We will not be stopped by the storm. We will come back. We will fight our way through this. We will get things right again. Just the pride that has been demonstrated to the general this morning, I think he verbalized very well for us out here.”
The players all spoke positively of the message about playing for those affected in the area. Defensive end Justin Tuck talked about the team trying to help the situation by going and playing a great football game Sunday, and then getting in the communities and doing what they can to help. Linebacker Mark Herzlich talked about fighting back.
Canty doesn’t believe there’s any pressure playing Sunday knowing there will be plenty of people tuning in to watch the Giants for some enjoyment after what’s been a disastrous week. “I don’t think it’s pressure as much as it is an honor and privilege to represent the people of this great city, these two great states, all our fans especially amid all of the loss, all of the damage and construction,” Canty said. “Just to be able to provide a sense of normalcy, even for a couple of hours. It’s important for our football team.”
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said the team will be giving its all against the Steelers.
“We’re going to go out there Sunday and play our hearts out,” Pierre-Paul said. “It’s going to be a great one.”