Organized Team Activities (OTAs) aren’t mandatory in the NFL. Most players attend, but every so often you run across a player or two who not only doesn’t attend but fails to communicate their absence, which leads to speculation around the league.
The New York Giants are finding themselves in that situation with their current wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. After informing the Giants that he wanted to presume more of a leadership role on the field, it appears he’s back tracking his previous stance since he is now presumed MIA.
Thursday his agent Peter Schaffer made it crystal clear that neither he nor would his client entertain any questions about his client’s whereabouts, by echoing the fact Nicks is good and his absence has nothing to do with his contract.
Those comments however didn’t sit well with his head coach Tom Coughlin. When you tell a highly respected veteran coach you are going to do something, its best you stay true to your word unless you want to ruffle up some feathers. Coughlin insists Nicks informed him he would be attending OTA, but since he made those commitments he hasn’t heard one word from the receiver, according to the NYDailyNews.
“Am I disappointed? No, I’m glad,” Coughlin said sarcastically. “Certainly I am [disappointed]. At one point Hakeem told me he was going to be here, and then he was not here. In the strictest interpretation, everyone knows it’s a voluntary program.”
While attending his charity event Thursday night for his R.U.S.H for Literacy charity billiards tournament at Slate NYC in Manhattan, defensive captain Justin Tuck admitted he isn’t concern with Nicks being in physical shape, but the lack of communication is what is damming and worrisome.
“Hakeem is young, he might not understand the importance of that part of it but I’m not worried about him being ready for the season. I know Hakeem, wherever he is, he loves to work out, he’s doing what he needs to do to be ready for the year but that’s what coaches do, they’re supposed to be ‘Get in here.’ “
Tuck, who also didn’t attend OTA due to his charity event and wanting to be near his nine month pregnant wife, gave some advice on what Nick should have done in the event he couldn’t make the OTA.
“At the end of the day just let us know and I’m sure coach understands it,’’ Tuck said. “He might not show you he understands it but he’s been around the game a long time and he understands the business side of it as well. He’ll probably still make you feel guilty about missing it but I’m sure he understands as long as you explain it to him and it doesn’t catch him by surprise.’’
We’re talking about practice, not games, not championships, but practice! However when you make a public plea about how you want a bigger leadership role and you fail to properly communicate with your head coach red flags begin to surface.
Another series of OTA will begin today, and pick back up for the final series from June 3rd through the 7th.