Justin Tuck said he spoke with Antrel Rolle and the two are “on the same page” after Rolle made post-game comments about how Giants players need to practice and fight through minor injuries if they can.
Rolle reiterated in his weekly interview with WFAN that he was not pointing fingers at any Giant, especially Tuck, who missed two days of practice last week with a toe injury. Tuck and running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) were the only Giants to miss two days of practice last week before going through a limited practice on Friday and playing on Sunday. Safety Kenny Phillips (knee) was limited all week in practice and played as well.
“If you know ‘Trel, then you know he’s one of those guys who try to light fires under guys,” Tuck said on his weekly interview on WFAN on Monday night. “And if it was directed at me then whatever. But I don’t think it was and I’ve talked to him since.”
“Sometimes in the heat of the moment, I know ‘Trel, he’s a competitor and I know he was frustrated after this loss,” Tuck continued. “So, sometimes you say things and not necessarily knowing what the ramifications are gonna be. I talked to ‘Trel since and we’re on the same page –- there’s no animosity either way between me and him and I know a lot of people are going to ask that question this week.”
Rolle reiterated on Monday that his comments were made to describe what the Giants' mentality as a team needs to be if they want to win these last two games and make the playoffs.
“My comments weren’t directly to anybody in particular,” Rolle said on WFAN. “And I know the media as always are trying to pinpoint one of our guys, which was Justin Tuck. I didn’t pinpoint and neither did I name-call anyone. If we are going to make the run that we need to make, we need to have everyone on board, whether it is nicks or bruises, we have to learn how to push through it. I am saying it from a mental aspect.”
“If you can push yourself through little things like that, then you can push yourself through other things,” he added. “Then the media is trying to come and say well Tuck didn’t practice [last] week. In my eyes, Tuck played a positive game from me seeing what I can see on the field.”
Head coach Tom Coughlin said there is a legitimate reason if a Giant is not practicing during the week.
“I do know this: every player that is medically cleared to practice practices and every player that is not medically cleared to practice does not,” Coughlin said. “It is all a matter of whether or not the player comes out the medical room with a tag that says he is out for the day or limited.”
“Of course, this time of the year, there is a lot of that,” Coughlin continued. “I am sure there is frustration there and I am not sure that is the mechanism in which you express your frustration.”
Speaking about the team overall, Rolle wants every Giant to give the team everything they got in these next two games.
“Legitimate injuries are legitimate injuries,” Rolle said. “I am not saying be Superman. But I am saying if you can give us a little bit more, give us a little bit more. It all starts in practice. We need everyone on board if they can be on board.”
Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said Rolle’s comments were taken in the right manner.
“I always believe in what Antrel Rolle says,” Kiwanuka said. “He’s usually pretty spot on. He’s not necessarily calling out individuals, but as a team, if you can be out there on the practice field, then you need to be out there.”
“Whenever you have a certain number of people [not practicing], regardless of what point in the season you’re at, it’s not good for the team,” Kiwanuka added. “I agree. You can’t really judge somebody else’s injury. Everybody who’s been in the league understands that. If you can’t go, you can’t go. But we just need everybody to push as hard as they can so that we can have everybody out pulling the line in.”