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American Football: Gaints players complaining

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posted on May, 8 2004 @ 01:55 PM
The NFL Players Association is investigating complaints about New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin's offseason training program.

NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw said Friday night that his office wants to make sure the Giants are in accordance with the union's agreement with the league.

"We've agreed to a set of rules and we want to make sure everybody's following them," he told The Associated Press. "We're investigating to look at it and see what happened."

Speaking in East Rutherford, N.J., after a morning workout at his first minicamp as Giants coach, Coughlin said he was aware of the complaints but unable to elaborate.

"I don't know what the complaint is, so on and so forth," said Coughlin, a disciplinarian hired in January to turn around an underachieving team that went 4-12 last season. "We have done everything the union has asked and forwarded all the information.

"Until I hear more, I don't have anything else to say."

Upshaw confirmed that numerous players have complained about Coughlin's program, but did not elaborate.

"Until we can see what's there we can't speculate," Upshaw said.

Coughlin has changed the offseason schedule from a year ago.

Under Jim Tassel, the Giants worked Monday through Thursday. Coughlin's schedule has the team working Monday and Tuesday and Thursday and Friday.

Both programs are voluntary, although NFL coaches don't appreciate it when players don't show up.

"It's a voluntary offseason program," Coughlin said. "I hope there is 100 percent attendance."

None of the players at minicamp acknowledged filing a complaint.

Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan, the player representative, said players need to go to the union to protect their interests. He also offered an olive branch.

"The offseason is what it is and you can't make everyone happy," Strahan said. "At the same time, I felt it was something that could have been handled in-house. It's not a big thing. I don't think it's anything to worry about."

Cornerback Will Peterson said the only complaint he heard during the offseason program came when training was delayed one day, forcing players to stay longer.

"They want you here for a reason," Peterson said. "They are trying to build a team. You want success as a team and to get that you need unity. The more we are here together, the better off we are."

Center Shaun O'Hara, a player representative with the Browns before signing with the Giants as a free agent this year, didn't know of any problems with Coughlin's program.

If the Giants are found to have violated the collective bargaining agreement, they could lose a week of offseason workouts.

"This is not going to help us get where we want to be," O'Hara said. "This is a moot point as far as I am concerned. It is outside of what we want to accomplish today, which is to get the Giants ready to play and win football games."

[Edited on 5/8/2004 by Ben]

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