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Thursday, November 30, 2006
Giants among men

By DJ Gallo
Special to Page 2

The New York Giants are coming apart right before our eyes. But it wasn't too long ago that the Giants were still trying to get along. In fact, it was Monday. That's when they held a players-only meeting in hopes of moving past their fourth-quarter collapse against the Titans and the losing streak it continued.

But it wasn't really a players-only meeting. I was in the locker room that day, too. (The ever-insecure Tom Coughlin hired me as a spy.) And this is a transcript of what transpired.

Michael Strahan: OK, guys, let's get started. Is everybody here? Great. Plex, can you get the door?

Plaxico Burress: No.

Strahan: Why not?

Burress: It's a little out of my reach.

Strahan: You're kidding, right?

Burress: Not at all. If the door was right here where I could get to it without any exertion I would gladly close it for you. But it's not. Somebody put it way over there. And it wasn't me so I shouldn't have to go out of my way to get to it. That's not my style. Sorry.

Strahan: Geez. What an @#$%*!^. OK, then. Eli? Can you stop whimpering in the corner for a moment to close the door so we can start our meeting?

Eli Manning: Golly. Sure thing, Michael. I'd be happy to. Thanks for asking. I'm just glad you fellas think I can be of some help to you. It sure means a lot.

Strahan: Whatever, dork. Alright. Let's get started. The reason for this players-only meeting is because we need to pull together and start winning.

Tiki Barber: Exactly. I agree. We have to start getting me more carries.

Strahan: Uh, well, that could be one way I suppose, Tiki.

Barber: No, that's the only way. Getting me more carries is the most important thing. Trust me on this. I'm smarter than all of you. I know it. You know it. Even Coach Coughlin has come to realize I am his intellectual superior. How did you like that word, huh? "Intellectual." That's five syllables.

Strahan: Very impressive, Tiki. Thanks. Now that we've all heard Tiki's thoughts, does anyone else have any suggestions on how we can turn our season around?

Jeremy Shockey: Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! Pick me! I have an idea.

Strahan: Jeremy, the floor is yours. Let's hear your thoughts.

Shockey: We need more unity on this team, right? So why don't we all go get the same tattoo? That would be so badass. I say we all get a Limp Bizkit tattoo. That band is awesome and they totally have the hard-core attitude we need here. Who's with me? And you better say you're in or I'll assume you're afraid of getting a tattoo and are a scared, little, wussy girl. And I don't want no wussy girls on my team. I'm from The U, baby! The U!

Strahan: Whoa there, Jeremy. Dial it back a bit. Can somebody tranq him? Thanks. Let's hear from some other veterans -- Ike Hilliard?

Amani Toomer: Who & me?

Strahan: Well, yeah. You're Ike Hilliard, aren't you?

Toomer: No. I'm Amani Toomer. Ike Hilliard hasn't been on the team for a couple of years. I think he's on the Buccaneers now.

Strahan: Really? Hmm. I always did get you guys confused. Well, whoever you are, let's hear your thoughts.

Toomer: Thank you. Listen up, guys. I've been on this team a long time and one thing I know is ...

Strahan: Sorry, Ike. But I'm going to cut you off. We're running short on time here.

Tim Hasselbeck: Hey, that's rude to cut someone off when they're trying to talk.

Strahan: What do you know about it, third-stringer?

Hasselbeck: A lot, actually. My wife, Elisabeth, is a host on "The View" and Rosie O'Donnell always cuts her off and it hurts her feelings.

Shockey: You watch "The View"? Come over here. I'm going to kick your ass.

Strahan: Somebody hit Shockey with another tranq dart. Tim, I understand what you're saying. My apologies to Ike Hilliard. And, Tim, please have your wife ask Rosie O'Donnell if she can fill in on the line until I get healthy. That lady is a beast.

Mathias Kiwanuka: I know I'm new here, but can I say something?

Strahan: Sure thing, rookie.

Kiwanuka: I want to share with you guys something an old coach once told me. It really fired me up and is the most valuable advice I have ever received. I was going through a bad time, like we are now, and my coach pulled me aside, looked me square in the eyes and said ...

Strahan: Uh, yes? And said what? You seemed like you had something really good going there and then you just stopped for no reason.

Kiwanuka: I know. I'm sorry. It's a bad habit of mine.

Manning: Umm, fellas? Hey, guys? You mind if I say a word or two?

Strahan: Have at it.

Manning: OK. Swell. Just give me a second here. My dad wrote down some things for me to say and I have to find the paper. He said if I read this to you guys you would respect me as a team leader.

Strahan: No, no, no, Eli. It's time to stop hiding behind your family. You're a big boy now. If you don't have anything that you want to say yourself from your own heart, then we don't want to hear it. So do you have anything to say that isn't from your daddy?

Manning: No. Not really. Well, that's not really true. I do have one thing.

Strahan: Yes? Let's hear it.

Manning: I wish you guys would stop giving me wedgies.

Strahan: Not a chance.

Barber: Hey, can we wrap this up? My wife said I have to be home by 5 p.m. today.

Jared Lorenzen: Yeah, I let's end this. I'm hungry.

Strahan: OK, OK. We're done. I hope we've all worked through some issues in this meeting and that we're all primed to beat the Cowboys this week. And remember -- anything that was discussed in this meeting stays among us, the players. Except if I need to fill some time on my radio show. Then I reserve the right to say whatever I want about any of you.

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book -- "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck" -- will be in stores soon.