Tom Coughlin's ruddy face seemed just a little redder than usual on Thursday. And it had nothing to do with the 90-plus degree temperatures heating up the air around the New York Giants practice.
The Giants coach was steaming from the inside after his wideout Hakeem Nicks missed another OTA session without any explanation. The big-play receiver was once again a no-show at the Giants' voluntary offseason training program — as he has been for the last two weeks — after telling Coughlin he would be there.
"At one point, Hakeem told me that he was going to be here, and then he was not here," the head coach said. "Now, the strictest interpretation, as everybody knows, is it’s a voluntary program."
Coughlin knows he can’t make anyone attend a round of training sessions that are not mandatory. But Nicks’ absence, he said, is frustrating. He said he was "certainly" disappointed in the receiver’s unkempt promise to be there.
"It’d be great to have all of our guys working and feeling good about the progress we’re making, and that type of thing," an annoyed Coughlin said. "That’s just from a coach’s perspective. You deal with some of this, pretty much on a yearly basis. And it’s a product of our system and that’s the way it is. I can complain all I want, but nevertheless, it is our system."
Voluntary means the Giants can't force a monetary penalty on anyone for missing the OTAs but when a player can't make a practice, they usually inform the coaching staff.
The 25-year-old Nicks has not been in touch with anyone in the Giants organization and has not released an explanation for his disappearance.
The absences are not believed to be tied to any contract disputes (which expires at the end of the season) although sources have speculated that maybe Nicks is dealing with a personal issue.
"I'm not saying anything," said Peter Shaffer, Nicks' agent. "I'm not being rude. I'm not saying anything and Mr. Nicks is not saying anything. Everyone's good, Hakeem's good."
Everyone doesn't seem to include Coughlin.