Coughlin sidesteps question on whether he wants to return
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tom Coughlin isn’t saying whether he wants to return as coach of the New York Giants.
The 69-year-old coach on Thursday sidestepped a direct question whether he wanted to come back for a 13th season.
There has been rampant speculation about Coughlin’s future in the past month as the Giants (6-9) stumbled toward the end of the season, losing five of six games. It has grown more intense in the past few days after New York was eliminated from the hunt on Saturday, then was routed 49-17 at Minnesota on Sunday night.
The Giants now have three losing seasons in a row and they have not made the playoffs four straight years.
“Do I want to come back?” Coughlin said. “I don’t know if that’s a great question right now. What I want to do is win a game on Sunday, that’s the bottom line for this group right now. I always have the competitive spirit. Sometimes it takes me a day or two to figure it all out when it’s over. Right now, let’s stick with the game and let’s go win a football game.”
All week, Coughlin has insisted his focus had been on the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles (6-9). He has been disappointed his players have been asked repeatedly to comment on his future.
When asked how he would feel walking off the field at MetLife Stadium, he brushed the question aside.
“I’m focused on the game, I don’t go that way,” said Coughlin, who has led the Giants to two Super Bowl titles. “I’m not thinking about any of that stuff.”
Giants players admitted feeling the same way about the game. Their feelings for their coach are stronger.
“Love him, there’s no doubt,” running back Rashad Jennings said. “I love coach Coughlin. The very first thing — I say this all the time — I noticed from him the very first day I got here, something he said that kind of reiterates who he is: “Faces may change, but expectations never do.” I’ve always seen him lead in that way, too. He’s an awesome coach.”
Cornerback Prince Amukamara said the feeling in the locker room has not changed much this week with the playoff chase over.
“I remember being here a couple years ago and I mean even from college, all I know is to finish the games remaining on the schedule strong. So that’s still the same mindset and that’s the same mentality that coach Coughlin created here,” he said. “The culture is to just always finish.”
Punter Brad Wing said the Giants have some vengeance on their mind against the Eagles.
“They got us last time and everyone is focused finishing on a positive note,” he said. “We don’t want to go out on a negative, regardless of what happens. There is potentially 10,000 things that’s going on outside, so I think all we can think about is Sunday’s game and the Eagles. We don’t want them to come in here and beat us.”
Coughlin couldn’t help but smile when asked how he would react to the fans walking off the field. His mind immediately went to one person.
“There’s a guy that sits about right here that lets me know every time I come off the field, and I can’t use the language because there are ladies around right now,” Coughlin said. “Yeah, he hasn’t got my name yet. He’s got a lot of those nicknames he calls me.”
NOTES: Safeties Craig Dahl and Cooper Taylor and tackle Marshall Newhouse did not practice Thursday because of concussions. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and linebacker J.T. Thomas also didn’t practice because of ankle injuries. Long snapper Danny Aiken was limited with a thumb injury. If Dahl and Taylor can’t play, the Giants may sign G.J. Kinne from their practice squad. The former Tulsa quarterback has made the transition to defense this year.
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