New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo knows all too well from his years I the league that young professional athletes with money in their pocket and free time on their hands isn’t always a good combination.
So, before he dismissed his roster of players Thursday, the last day of the teams three-day minicamp, he had a message for them: Stay out of trouble during the downtime before training camp.
“We talked about being a pro. We have a lot of integrity in the locker room. We talked about it and we have to trust each other, but it is about being a pro and how we handle our business mentally, physically and spiritually,” McAdoo said.
Although the six-week break until July 27, the day the players and coaches report back for the start of training camp, is expected to go quickly, a coach’s wort nightmare is when he gets a call that something—an accident or an arrest—happened to one of his players.
He was here in 2015 when defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul had a fireworks-related accident that cost him two and a half fingers on his right hand, putting his future in doubt at the time.
“You just don’t want any phone calls late at night, that is all,” McAdoo said. “But I trust the players in the locker room, I trust the staff, we are going to put ourselves in good situations and we understand that ‘NYG’ never comes off. It is always with us, always a part of us, the name on the back of the jersey and the letters on the front always stick with us.”
In addition to delivering his short message to the team at the end of practice, McAdoo also had others such as Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, a regular fixture on the Giants sidelines during games, and strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman speak to the team as well about making sure they get into a position to be successful once they return to the facility.
No one knows that more than Pierre-Paul, who has been spreading that message on his own.
“I’m pretty sure they get the picture. We had guys come in here, and veteran guys too that have been talking. They understand the message. We had team meetings with a list of instructions with the better opportunities you are going to get.
“Trust me I am living proof of it. You know two years ago; I probably wouldn’t even be here, but I understand the distractions.”
While the players and coaches get away for a little while. the start of training camp won’t be too far from McAdoo’s mind.
“I don’t shut it down very easily. I am going to stay engaged and get a little bit done each and every day, whether it is on the offensive side of the ball reflecting on the pieces that we added or taking a look at the defensive side of the ball and what we can do to help the defense there,” he said of his plans over the next few weeks.
“Looking at players and personnel and taking a look at the schedule and looking at how we can tweak things and make them a little bit better. You never really shut it off; you just work from a different place.”