Fan Questions/Answers
2003 Weekly Reviews/Comments

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Amani's Comments


Interview with Amani on 2/23/04

Was there an opportunity for you to have a private goodbye with Coach Fassel?

Amani: No, there was no chance of catching him alone. There was just so much going on.

Were you aware that Coach Fassel said that the material item he cherished most, and was taking with him, was a framed picture of you from the cover of Sports Illustrated?

Amani: Really? No, I didn’t know that. It’s really kind of touching, especially considering the kind of relationship we had---up and down.

Is there anything positive that you can take out of the 2003 season?

Amani: There’s always something positive that you can take out of a season. A lot of young players got an opportunity to play. That’s going to be helpful in the future because the coaches get a chance to evaluate players that ordinarily they wouldn’t have had a chance to evaluate.

As a team, I think the season reiterated the importance of execution. If you don’t execute, you don’t win. If you don’t play together, you don’t win. Each game, each season you have to work for it. There’s never a time when it comes easy.

Given the poor season in 2003 and all the resulting staff changes, do you think it’s possible for the Giants to come back strong as early as the 2004 season?

Amani: Oh, no question! Last year I thought that everything that could possibly go wrong, did go wrong. I feel that with the new coaching staff we have the opportunity to make some changes and get back to the winning ways that we’re accustomed to in New York.

Are you excited about the new era in Giants’ football?

Amani: I’m looking forward to it in the sense that it’s something new. I think Coach Coughlin is going to shake up a lot of things, which is not always bad. I’m excited about working with the new staff. It will be interesting to see a new approach to football.

Have you had an opportunity to meet with Tom Coughlin yet?

Amani: Yes, I met him very briefly and I thought it was a good meeting. I met him the first day he got the job. I was at the facility and basically I just congratulated him on getting the head-coaching job.

Have you met Mike Sullivan, the new wide receivers’ coach yet?

Amani: Yes, I met with him just the other day. He seemed really excited about working with the Giants and I’m excited about working with him. He’s worked with a lot of good receivers and I hope I’ll be another one of them.

You flew to California to attend a banquet retiring your De La Salle High School jersey, #18. Have you any more appearances scheduled?

Amani: Yes, next weekend, the last weekend in February, I’m going to a breast cancer golf tournament in Miami. The following week we’re flying back to California because my agent is having a golf tournament and after that we’re going to Mexico for about eight days.

Are you a good golfer?

Amani: No! But I am actually learning. I had a lesson from one of the pro golfers recently.

Interview with Amani, 12/18/03:

There have been rumors about Coach Fassel being fired for some time. Were you surprised when it actually happened?

Amani: I was surprised. There definitely were rumors but there have been rumors before, though maybe not so many. I guess everyone kind of already knew but to actually see it happen was still surprising. I feel sad. Jim was definitely a factor in my development. I was pretty young when he started and he helped me develop into the player I am and I’m saddened to see him go.

Do you feel he got too much blame for everything that went wrong this season?

Amani: I don’t think Jim is really being blamed for it. I think that the organization just feels it’s time for a change. I think if you asked anyone they would say they are aware of the injuries and all the things that have happened but this was just one of those things that had to be done.

Were you surprised at how it actually came about, with Coach Fassel raising the issue?

Amani: Yes, I was but I think he was looking out for the assistant coaches, to give them all the time in the world to try and find new jobs. He told us that was the motivation for what he did.

Do you think the team will renew their efforts to win the last two games for Jim?

Amani: I think so. Everyone has a relationship with him and it’s a sad thing that happened. The whole season has been sad so to have the coach get fired on top of that is just a bad situation for everybody. I do think everyone will do what he can to make sure he goes out on a better note and, hopefully, then we’ll also have a better feel about our team.

As you mentioned, there is the potential that you will lose your position coach, Jimmy Robinson. How instrumental has he been in your development?

Amani: He helped me a lot. He never really got down on me. He always tried to help me to become better. It worked and I appreciate his help.

Were you one of the Giants’ players who received the hate mail that the FBI is investigating?

Amani: No, as far as I know I didn’t receive it and I haven’t read any of it either.

If Jesse starts the last two games at quarterback, will you have to adjust your game in any way since he’s more mobile than Kerry but less experienced?

Amani: No, I think things will operate the same way. I don’t think the offense will do anything different.

By the way, that was a very impressive one-handed catch you made while trying to regain your feet in last Sunday’s game.

Amani: Thank you.

12/01/03 Interview with Amani:

With the playoffs all but out of reach, how do you keep yourself motivated?

Amani: I don’t have any trouble keeping myself motivated. I’m still playing to win games because if we go eight and eight it will be a lot better than four and twelve or something like that. Five hundred, while not a good record, is at least respectable and something to aim for. Right now we’re not even respectable.
Also, I’m playing for my own professional integrity. No matter what happens, you always have to play your best. That’s how I and the rest of the team are approaching it.

There have been a lot of rumors about Coach Fassel being fired. Has this been a distraction to you and your teammates?

Amani: I don’t think it has helped. There have been a lot of rumors swirling around but I don’t think anyone on the team is looking at Coach Fassel any differently. There have been situations where things just didn’t go the right way and it really hasn’t been anybody’s fault. It’s all falling on Coach and how fair is that? It’s the position that he’s been pushed into.
The injury problems haven’t helped us and earlier in the year before all the injuries, we were sputtering. When we were healthy, we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.

Following yesterday’s loss, Wellington Mara said that he understood the fan’s message and added that the team wasn’t delivering the product. Do you think there is anything that can still be done to ameliorate the situation?

Amani: Yes, absolutely. If we go out and win a couple of games in a row, it will at least give the fans a glimmer of hope for next season. When I watched the game on film today, it almost looked comical. Things that you never see happen in games are happening every other play to us. I just can’t really explain it.

The media has reported that you, Michael Strahan and Shockey have been critical of the fans for leaving the game early, for booing and for shouting “Fire Fassel”. What did you actually say and what would you like to see from the fans?

Amani: I don’t have a problem with the fans. Throughout my whole career, I have never had any problem with the fans. I respect them and I know that if we don’t play well, they will let us know about it. It’s not their fault that we’re not playing well. I never tried to blame them for not cheering when we’re missing balls and things like that. That would be ridiculous!
What I actually said was that from a player’s perspective, when you play here and you’re not playing well, it’s a tough situation. That was all I said!
I want the fans to know where I’m coming from and that I’m not disrespecting them in any way. I’m just saying that from a player’s perspective, which is not anything the fans don’t already know, is that when you’re not winning, it’s a tough place to play. And that’s all I’m saying!
I don’t understand how what I said was misrepresented to the point that it sounded like I didn’t appreciate the fans. I know they’re loyal fans. They’re fanatic fans. That’s where the word fan comes from-fanatic, and I appreciate them and respect them.

Did you watch the Michigan-Ohio State game last week?

Amani: Yes, I did. That was a great game. I was really happy for a lot of the players and happy that Ohio State didn’t sweep Michigan three years in a row.

11/19/03 Interview with Amani:

Do you think the Giants still have a chance to make the playoffs if you run the table?

Amani: I think if we do it would be hard for us not to get into the playoffs. I’m still optimistic. You have to keep fighting to the very end, to the very last game. The team still has a lot of fight left in them. We just need some little spark of something to get us rolling.

How do you keep yourself focused when the team is in such a hole?

Amani: Well, you just have to consider that as easily as things have gone bad, they can go well. You have to keep playing hard and keep fighting because nothing is going to drop out of the sky to touch our team and make us play better. This is just an opportunity to keep working and trying to improve.

Last Sunday, some of the networks were reporting on Coach Fassel’s attempt to motivate the team by saying he would quit if the Giants didn’t play better. Allegedly, he also called some players out. They added that after the meeting you went to Coach Fassel’s office and objected to his having done so. Is there any validity to this?

Amani: What happened was that he said something in the meeting that was directed to me. I wasn’t planning to talk to him about it; I was just going to keep on moving because I know that’s kind of his style. But then he called me into his office and explained what had happened. He told me that his intent was not to single me out in any way.
I thought it was a good meeting. We got a lot of things accomplished.

There is a rumor making the rounds in some of the Giants’ media to the effect that Shockey may be rushed back into action in an attempt to save Coach Fassel’s job. This is supposed to have come from some unnamed players. Do you know anything about this?

Amani: Wow, that’s a whole lot of what ifs! We’re not allowed to talk about injuries so I don’t want to address the situation but I will say I think that’s pretty far fetched! It’s the easiest thing in the world to say, “Yeah, we got it from Giants’ players.” They don’t know anything. Unless they name names, they have nothing.

On a lighter note, you don’t celebrate. Why not and what is your opinion of those who do?

Amani: Honestly, I don’t knock anybody for what they do. I get excited and am happy at scoring a TD but I guess I just don’t go over the top like some other players. I get a little rowdy once in a while. Sometimes I’ll spike the ball and do some crazy things. I do it to make things happen and generate some excitement but not to draw attention to myself. If it’s not real, I don’t want any part of it.

I saw you stick your head into the end zone camera when you made a TD in the Colts’ game last year.

Amani: Yeah, that was a big game for our whole team and I was really excited. That was quite a game!

Good luck Monday against Tampa Bay.

Amani: Thanks. Hopefully I’ll have a win to talk to you about in next week’s interview.

11/07/03 Interview with Amani:

Congratulations on being named NFC Player of the Week. This is the second time you’ve been selected, isn’t it?

Amani: Thank you, it’s pretty exciting because it’s really the first time I’ve been selected as a wide receiver. The other time was for special teams.

The offense has moved the ball more effectively in the last two games. How do you account for the improvement?

Amani: Well, I think we’ve found a group of linemen that really work well together and that kind of makes the whole thing click. Ian Allen came in and played great and we’ve cut down on the turnovers. We’re trying to do better in the red zone and that’s really helped us out.

Even with the overall improvement in the offense, the red zone is a lingering problem. What do you think the Giants need to do to diminish the red zone stalls?

Amani: I don’t know but I think we have improved in the red zone and scored some points. In the last two weeks we’ve scored 29 and 31 points and I think, if we can keep scoring this many points, the defense will definitely hold us. The defense will keep us in the game and give us an opportunity to win.

On Sunday ESPN reported that you spoke to Coach Fassel before the Jets game and asked him to give you the chance to make some big plays. Is this an accurate reflection of what you said?

Amani: I don’t know. I talk to Coach Fassel quite a bit but I don’t remember saying anything specifically like that. In passing, sometimes Coach will say, “Are you going to make some big plays this week?” And I’ll say, “Yup, just put it up there.” But it wasn’t like I insisted I should get the ball or even asked for it. I don’t even know how they got the conversation except maybe from something Coach Fassel said but I didn’t ask for the ball.

Kerry has said that he loves the empty backfield. Do you like it and what do you see as the advantage to you over a three or even four wide receiver set?

Amani: The empty backfield makes it easier for all of us. If the defense plays the 2-deep coverage, then Kerry will sit back there all day with all the time in the world to make the throw. If they try to blitz him, we have our hots (hot reads). It’s all clarified for Kerry. He can see everything; everything is all spread out. It’s easier for the linemen and everybody else. It’s just easier for Kerry and the linemen to see everyone who is coming so there are fewer mistakes.

The NFL is considering retroactive testing for the newly banned steroid THG, (tetrahydrogestrinone) using stored samples. The NFL Players Association has no objections to future testing but is objecting to retroactive testing since the drug was just recently banned. How do you feel about retroactive testing?

I haven’t heard about this. I think the league has an interest in the game being played clean. They don’t want people watching a bunch of drugged guys running around out there. They want the fans to see natural athletes, guys who have put in the hard work and haven’t taken any short cuts. The league has discovered this new drug and they’re ahead of the game there. But to go back and test retroactively doesn’t seem to make much sense if THG was just banned.
I didn’t even know they stored our urine samples. Where would they store them?

In a refrigerator, I hope.

Ha. It seems kind of weird. I don’t like the idea of it being stored and, if they test the stored urine for something that wasn’t banned at the time the sample was taken, I think they might have some legal issues.

Esquire Magazine recently had a charity night for breast cancer. I understand that you were a celebrity participant.

Yes, the event was last Monday evening. It was fun and for a good cause so I was glad to be involved.

Quotes after the win over the Jets.

Quote from Kerry Collins following the win over the Jets:

Amani ran some great routes today; he really gave me places to throw the ball."

Quote from E-Giants by Dave Klein:

Toomer has 660 yards with his 33 receptions, by far the largest yardage total among receivers on the team.

Quote from Inside Football:

Midway through the third quarter, it became the Amani Toomer show. It started with him running a quick post on Aaron Beasley. He followed up that play with a straight fly route against Beasley, who had no help on either play and therefore was no match for Toomer. This was a great job of taking advantage of the mismatch and continuing to attack it until an adjustment is made by the opposition. Toomer continues to have a great season, making a number of catches while maintaining a sizable yard per catch average.

Quote from by Michael Eisen:

Amani Toomer caught six passes for a season-high 127 yards and a touchdown. It was Toomer's 18th career 100-yard game, a new Giants record. Toomer had been tied with Homer Jones, who had 17 100-yard games from 1964-69. The Giants are 10-8 in Toomer's 100-yard games and 15-14 under Fassel when at least one receiver gains 100 yards.

The score was Toomer's first since Sept. 21 at Washington. It was the 36th receiving touchdown of his career, breaking a tie with Homer Jones, Del Shofner and Aaron Thomas and moving him into fourth place on the team's career list. Frank Gifford is third with 43.

Toomer extended his team record by catching a pass in his 75th consecutive game.

Toomer has 388 career receptions, seven less than franchise record-holder Joe Morrison....

Toomer has 5,969 career yards and needs 31 to become the first Giant with 6,000.

Quote from Amani following the Jets victory:

"It was one of those things where last week I had some deep balls thrown to me and I didn't come up with them. This week I made a point of it, as soon as I see the ball up in the air I am going to be aggressive to it. This was the first time in about a month that I have seen single (coverage). Usually I have been getting a roll to my side. I had to take advantage of that."

10-24-03 Interview with Amani:

Your high school, De La Salle, will have a nationally televised game this evening. Will you have a chance to watch it?

AMANI: Yes, I’m going home right now so I can watch it. I think it starts at 8:30 PM. (EST)

When you review film of the last game, are there opportunities for players as well as coaches to discuss what you are seeing?

Oh, yes, we definitely talk about what we see on the film. There’s a lot of opportunity for discussion.

Has there been any comment or notice that when you get the ball good things happen?

AMANI: Not by me! I wouldn’t say anything like that! I would wait for them to figure that out but I don’t recall there being any comments like that.

If a player is flagged for a penalty, and the film review shows he wasn’t guilty, do the coaches discuss this with the player or the team?

AMANI: No. Once they’re flagged, it doesn’t really matter anymore. The coaches usually send it in to the league office. They might get something back from the league but that’s about it. Beyond that, the coaches can’t really do anything about it.

When Collins goes back into a 3-step drop, since the ball comes out so quickly and is in the air such a short time, does the degree of separation differ for the WR to be considered open?

No, he’s (Collins’) just trying to get rid of it quickly and I don’t know that he would look for more or less separation. The coverage would be closer but I don’t think he would pay much attention to that. He’s just throwing it fast and trusting that we’re going to be open. I, personally, don’t feel like I need to try and do anything different than in a longer step drop.

Is it as feasible to throw long on a 5-step drop as it is on a 7-step drop?

AMANI: Yeah, he can definitely throw it long. He could even throw it long in a 3-step drop. You may not see it often but you can do it and we do. It is more difficult in a short step drop because the quarterback doesn’t have as much control over where he’s going to throw it.

10/15/03 interview

You recently taped a television appearance, didn’t you?

Amani: Yes, I did. I will be on the Jamie Kennedy Experiment and the show will be aired between November 16-19th.

Can you isolate one or two factors that you feel were key to the Giants’ recent losses?

Amani: I would have to say it was fumbles and turnovers.
I think the whole team feels we’re in a situation where we need to make something happen. Everyone is feeling the crunch. The fans are upset about the way we’ve been playing, I know, but in the locker room the players are even more upset than the fans can imagine. Sunday, we face a team (Eagles) in much the same position.

Kerry has been using a lot of three step drops this season. Is that primarily to give the revamped offensive line time to develop their pass protection technique?

Amani: I don’t know why and it really isn’t my job to know why. I leave that part of the game up to the coaches.

But, seemingly as a result, Kerry hasn’t gone long often. Are you in his progression as often as you would normally be?

Amani: I think it’s mostly happenstance that I haven’t gotten the ball a lot. As I recall, I think I‘ve been the primary read a few times in the last couple of games.

Your short slant over the middle last Sunday was a nice play.

Amani: Thank you.

The media is making much of the fact that the Giants only seem to play well when they are backed into a corner. Do you put any credence in that?

I don’t know. We try to play well all the time but that does sometimes seem to be the case. Sometimes, it seems like we get off to a slow start but I can’t really explain why. It seems like it’s a feeling out period and something we need to go through during the season.

Would you care to comment on the Limbaugh statement on ESPN?

I think that as a country we have come so far in terms of race relations that for him to look at Donovan McNabb as a black quarterback instead of as just a quarterback is kind of insulting and insensitive.

9/24/03 Interview

Congratulations on the franchise records you have already set this season. This is getting to be nearly an every week occurrence with you.

Amani: Thank you very much.

On your touchdown reception against Washington, you made an out move and then slanted in. Did something make you suspect that the double move would work as well as it did?

Amani: We ran that play earlier in the game and I think both the safety and Champ (Bailey) jumped it and it worked really well. They bit down hard on the first move, the out. When I went back to the huddle, I said that I thought I could make that play work again.

Does it take some years of experience to be able to make a double move like that so smoothly and successfully?

Amani: I guess so. What really takes time is that when you see something out there on the field, the coach has enough confidence in you to trust your judgment. That kind of working relationship takes a while to develop.

The offensive line had to do a very good job on that play to make it work, didn’t they?

Amani: Yes, they certainly did.

On another play, Bailey was in tight coverage and Collins was under heavy pressure and had to hurry to get the ball off. The ball went inside rather than to your outside (sideline) shoulder and it was incomplete. If Collins had time to throw the ball to the outside, do you feel that would have resulted in a catch?

Amani: We had run that route a couple of times earlier in the game and Bailey was starting to sit on that move. Probably the best thing to have done would have been another double move.

Overall, how would you access the offensive effort against Washington?

Amani: I was happy and proud of the whole offensive line, Kerry, Tiki and Ike. I think they all played really well. They came together and played well in the fourth quarter and overtime. It made a big impact on the game and enabled us to get the win.

In general, do you change how you play depending on the cornerback you will face? For example, do you take more chances against a rookie thinking that he is less savvy?

Amani: No, not really. I would play every game the same.

You have a few days off because of the bye. Will you do anything special?
Amani: Yes, my wife and I are going to Los Angeles. I’m going to be on the Best Damned Sports Show on Friday and the NFL show on Fox on Sunday. I also did the United Way commercial recently.

You seemed very natural and poised on that United Way commercial. Most people who aren’t actors don’t seem so relaxed.

Amani: Thank you.

An Invitation to Training Camp

The New York Giants’ training camp will open on July 24th at Albany, NY. The first day of practices will be July 25th. For those of you who have never visited Albany but who live somewhere in the vicinity, it's worthwhile to jump in your car and visit our camp for a day.

The training camp is on the campus of the State University of New York at Albany and the facility is excellent for both players and fans. There are six grass fields plus a stadium field on which to practice. Bleachers are provided for the fans, and some of them are even under trees. So, when we’re out on the field sweating in our pads, you can be sitting comfortably on a bleacher seat under the shade of a tree.

Going on and off the practice field we pass a fenced area known as "autograph alley." Fans who are interested in collecting autographs usually line up along the fence and call to the players they want. Before practice we really can't stop and sign because the coaches and other players are waiting for us on the field. But after practice we have time to stop, sign autographs and speak with our fans for a minute.

Training camp is an intense period of preparation for the season ahead and our days are packed solid.
We begin the day pretty early, as we need to eat breakfast, get suited up and be on the field by 9 AM. Most days we practice until 11 AM and then go lift for a little while. After that we shower and have lunch. During our lunch break we also meet with any members of the media who want to interview us that day. Then we have a couple of hours to study and rest before reporting back to the field for 3 PM practice. Afternoon practice generally ends at 5 PM when we run "gassers" (wind sprints). If coach was disappointed in our practice that day, we may have to run extra gassers. Occasionally, if practice was very good, coach may say that we don't have to run gassers at all that day. This is always greeted with cheers, applause and lots of high-fives. Heading back to the locker room, we pass autograph alley again, stopping to sign autographs. Then we hit the showers and have dinner. After dinner we go to a team meeting. When that finishes we go to our position meeting (mine is with the receivers’ coach, Jimmy Robinson) and that lasts until about 9:30-10:OO PM. When that’s over, we have free time until 11 PM curfew. Next day, we start the process over again.

Once camp gets underway, I’ll try to let you know how the practices are going. However, once the pre-season exhibition games start, time will be even more limited and I may not have even a few minutes to write you. I’ll resume weekly updates once the regular season begins.

Hope to see you in Albany,


June 2003 Interview with Amani

You’ve been traveling again, haven’t you?

Amani: Yes, between mini-camp and summer school, I went to Mexico. My high school friend and I wanted to go down there and just hang out because we haven’t done that in a long time. Really, we haven’t done it since high school.

Did you visit any of the archeological sites?

Amani: No, we just went down there to have fun. It was a vacation to relax.

You were planning to test for your black belt in Kung Fu in June. How did that go?

Amani: I just tested and I got it! It’s pretty gratifying. Part of the test involved holding the Horse Stance for about five minutes. I’ve been working on my Kung Fu for six--going on seven years--and now I have finally gotten my black belt! Usually, it takes about three or four years if you really stick with it and train every week. With football I couldn’t really put the time in that I would have liked. But I’ve learned a lot and done a lot of good things with it and I really enjoy the art.

Congratulations, it’s a real achievement.

Amani: Thanks, I feel pretty good about it.

This year passing camp is being referred to as summer school. What, if any,
are the differences?

Amani: It seems the same to me; I haven’t noticed anything different.

In mini-camp or summer school has any player caught your eye?

Yes, I think Darnell Dinkins is doing a great job. He’s playing
tight end now and he’s doing a really good job with it. I don’t know
exactly how big he is but he’s certainly a lot bigger than me, I know that.
I haven’t really seen him play yet but I’ve talked with Charles Drake. He
went to Michigan also and we talked about Michigan a little bit. I can’t
really comment about other players because some positions until you see them
play with pads on you can’t tell much.

This year there’s a buzz in the NFL that the Giants look like contenders.
Care to comment on that?

I think a lot of people are looking for us to do well because we
finished up so well last year and because we have a lot of good players.
Kerry Collins is playing very well and I think there’s a lot to be excited
about on the Giants. We don’t have any positions where we are hurting.
In the past when we’ve been in this position and writers were talking about
us favorably, we weren’t successful. A lot of people have been on teams
where there were high expectations and they didn’t do anything. So
hopefully we’ll learn from the mistakes we made in the past, have a
successful season, make the playoffs and make it deep into the playoffs.

Will you be doing any more traveling between the end of summer school and
the beginning of training camp?

Amani: Yes, we’re going on a cruise to Europe but I don’t know exactly
where we’re going. My wife is going to surprise me.

February, 2003 Interview with Amani

You’re in San Francisco this weekend for J.J. Stokes’ (S.F. 49ers) wedding, aren’t you?

Amani: Yes, I want to see him, attend the wedding and meet his bride to be.

The off-season strength and conditioning program starts on March 24th, doesn’t it?

Amani: Yes, it does and of course I participate in it.

How many times a week are you involved?

Amani: We go Monday through Thursday. That way if you have to miss a day, you have the opportunity to go in on Friday to make it up. If you know you will have to miss a future day, you can also go in on Friday in advance. It’s not really a requirement but it’s important to be involved so everyone in the organization knows that you take your job seriously. There are so many things that can go wrong in an NFL player’s career that you want to do everything you can to show you are dedicated. That way, if some time you struggle for a brief period, the organization will show you some leniency.  They will remember that you’ve always worked hard and will give you the time to work through a problem. For example, at training camp you may not initially establish your position by playing up to your expectations, but if you have already established that you’re a team guy you’ll be allowed the time to work it out. Of course, ultimately it comes down to how well you play.

To what extent is the strength and conditioning program modified for different positions? Does a defensive end do the same training as a wide receiver?

Amani: We do essentially the same course or routines. However, on the treadmill the speed would be higher for receivers and running backs than for linemen.

Are you more involved in your martial arts now?

Amani: Yes, actually I am. I hope to get my black belt in June and there are a number of things I have to do physically to prepare for the test I have to take. For example, I have to work on my horse stance, which is a kind of squat in Kung Fu.  I have to be able to do that for five minutes so I need to build up my leg strength in order to succeed. That’s really my goal for the next couple of months.

You have some travel plans coming up, don’t you?                      

Amani: Yes, we’re going to South Africa but I’ll be back in time for the start of the off-season conditioning program. We’ll be going to a game park in Botswana and also to Johannesburg. Everyone I know who has traveled to Johannesburg says it’s a beautiful city. We’ll also be making some short flights to various other spots in South Africa.

Are you a photographer?

Amani: No, but I plan to take lots of pictures! I will try to shoot as many pictures off as I can and I’ve heard that on safari it’s hard not to take good ones. You’re able to get so close to the animals it’s difficult to take a bad picture.  I’m going to put on the web site some of the pictures I took last year in Brazil. When I get back, I plan to pick some of the best pics from this trip to add to the site as well.

When you return home, we’ll have a lot to talk about.

Amani: Yes, we will. My wife, Yola, is planning to keep a journal of the trip. Also, when I get home, the strength and conditioning program will be beginning so I’ll want to talk about that. Then, in April, I’d like to discuss the Michigan players who have announced for the draft.

Have a great time!

Amani: Thanks, I plan to.

Toomer Giving Back
By Michael Eisen,

Life experiences help Giants wideout appreciate the merits of community service.

Click here to see the article and Amani's One on One Video

Dates to Remember

The unofficial start to the 2004 season begins on March 22, when the off-season strength and conditioning program commences. The NFL Draft will be on April 24-25 and the first of three mini-camps will be held on May 7-8. All members of the team, including the recent draft picks, are required to attend. Two additional full team mini-camps will be held on June 7, 8 and 10 and on June 14-16.

The Giants have extended their contract with the State University of New York at Albany to hold the team’s training camp there through 2006. Fans are welcome to attend training camp practices and facilities for the fans are excellent. Bleacher seats are provided, many of them under large shade trees. Fans can obtain autographs and speak to their favorite players following morning and afternoon practices. Admission to practice is free. Dates for training camp have not yet been announced.

#18 Retired
by Gail Bahr

Nestled in the hills of Danville, California is Blackhawk, probably the wealthiest enclave in Northern California and home to the Blackhawk Museum, one of the world’s premier automotive museums. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

Accustomed to housing one of the most valuable collection of cars in the world, on Sunday night, February 22, 2004, it also hosted a banquet to honor the 2003 De La Salle High School football team and its’ most celebrated alumnus, Amani Toomer.

Click HERE for the complete story

Giants’ Coaching Staff Now Complete

Tom Coughlin, Head Coach, returns to the Giants where he was the wide receivers’ coach from 1988-90. He was out of coaching during the 2003 season. Prior to ’03 he was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1994-02. His regular season record with the Jaguars was 68-60. Like many other head coaches, he has assembled a staff of coaches many of whom worked with him previously.

John Hufnagel, Offensive Coordinator, has been a coach for over 30 years and comes to the Giants from the New England Patriots where he was the quarterbacks’ coach in 2003. He also coached Mark Brunell in Jacksonville and has worked with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.

Tim Lewis, Defensive Coordinator, served in the same capacity with the Pittsburgh Steelers. During his time as defensive coordinator, the team’s defense was often referred to as the Pitts Blitz because of Lewis’ fondness for the blitz. (Pittsburgh used a 3-4 defensive front).

Mike Sweatman, Special Teams Coordinator, also returns home to the Giants where he and Coughlin worked together under Bill Parcells. He has been the special teams coach for the Giants, Jets, New England and most recently the Chicago Bears.

Mike Priefer, Assistant Special Teams Coach, served in a similar capacity under Jim Fassel. In 2002 he worked for Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville.

Kevin Gilbride, Quarterbacks’ Coach, is a former head coach for the San Diego Chargers and was on Tom Coughlin’s staff at Jacksonville. Gilbride spent the last two seasons as offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills.

Mike Sullivan, Wide Receivers’ Coach, was an offensive assistant with Tom Coughlin at Jacksonville and played defensive back for Army.

Pat Flaherty, Offensive Line Coach, spent the last three seasons with the Bears as the tight ends coach.

Dave DeGuglielmo, Asst. Offensive Line/Quality Control, was formerly on Coughlin’s staff as a graduate assistant when Coughlin was at Boston College. This is his first position in the NFL.

Mike Pope, Tight Ends’ Coach, is well known to Giants fans as he served in the same capacity under Jim Fassel.

Jerald Ingram, Running Backs’ Coach, worked for Coughlin as running backs’ coach with Jacksonville.

David Merritt, Defensive Assistant/Quality Control, was a defensive assistant with the N.Y. Jets before joining the Giants.

Mike Waufle, Defensive Line Coach, was the defensive line coach with the Oakland Raiders prior to joining the Giants. Waufle has extensive experience coaching in the college ranks.

Bill Davis, Linebackers’ Coach, began his NFL career as a defensive assistant for the Steelers. He was most recently linebackers’ coach for Atlanta.

Ron Milus, Defensive Backs’ Coach, was the defensive backs’ coach with Denver from 2000-02. He served in the same capacity with the Arizona Cardinals in 2003.

Jerry Palmieri, Strength and Conditioning, worked with Coach Coughlin in the same capacity in Jacksonville. He spent the 2003 season with the New Orleans Saints.

Andy Barnett, Assistant Strength and Conditioning, spent the last three years at IMG Academies, the world’s largest network of multi-sport training facilities. With this assignment, he makes his NFL debut.

Dates to Remember

Feb. 24: Deadline for clubs to designate franchise/transition players.

Mar. 2: Deadline for submission of qualifying offers by clubs to their restricted free agents whose contracts have expired and to whom they wish to retain a right of first refusal or compensation.

Mar: 3: The free agency signing period begins.

Great Expectations
by Gail Bahr

It was unanimous.

The Giants would be contenders in 2003.

Kerry Collins was coming off his most prolific season as a New York Giant.

Although snubbed in the Pro Bowl balloting, Amani Toomer was playing at a Pro Bowl level.

Tiki Barber had the best year of his career and was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate in 2002.

The offensive line, despite two defections, would be improved.

The draft had shored up holes in the defense and Michael Strahan remained the best defensive end in the NFL.

Keith Hamilton had recovered from Achilles surgery and was returning to man the interior of the D-line.

The stage was set.

At training camp the air resonated with excitement. Though players spoke cautiously saying, “We have to take it one game at a time,” their voices betrayed the calm words.

Amani Toomer said he felt it was too early to get excited about the playoffs but would admit he was eager to start the season.

Even the 2-a-day workouts, the bane of veteran players, were approached enthusiastically.

The opening game of the season, against the St. Louis Rams, seemed to presage success. On their way to victory, the offense moved the ball with precision and the defense swarmed a soon groggy and confused Kurt Warner. Kerry Collins threw a flawless pass to Amani Toomer for a 77-yard completion.

The victory was decisive, confirming the belief that the Giants would go deep into the post-season.

And then the wheels began to come off.

Changes were immediately made to the offensive line and, before the changes could be integrated, injuries began to claim the line.

Quarterback Kerry Collins was forced into quick, three-step drops, the luxury of going through his normal progressions all but abandoned. Amani Toomer, their big play receiver who usually takes the long routes, became a forgotten man, effectively eliminating his chances for a Pro Bowl bid in 2003.

Then the cornerbacks went down, one by one, soon followed by the strong safety.

Eventually Kerry Collins, one of the most durable quarterbacks in the NFL, was injured.

Fans demonstrated their displeasure.

Finally, a good man and good coach was deemed responsible for the injuries and failures of the drafting process, and terminated. In his seven years with the New York Giants, Jim Fassel took the Giants to the playoffs three times and guided the team to two division titles and into the Super Bowl once. His record is enviable, unequaled by most currently coaching in the NFL.

That which began with such great expectations ended, “not with a bang but a whimper” as the Giants limped their way to a 4 and 12 win-loss record.

But is all lost? Must the Giants re-build again?

Not necessarily.

The offensive line, so riddled with injuries, will start next season restored to health and all the rookies and second year men who were pushed into starting positions will have gained valuable experience, presumably making the line better and stronger than in 2003.

None of the injuries to the defensive backfield appear career threatening and the backups have gained valuable experience.

Kerry Collins will be back and, with a more experienced and healthy offensive line, will have the time and protection to make his normal reads.

Amani Toomer should then get his long overdue Pro Bowl invitation.

The 2004 draft and free agency can effectively fill the weak spots on the team and next year the Giants should come back better and stronger.

So, the process begins anew.

We wait.

And we hope.


Excerpt from Inside Football:

What started out with such promise ended up to be a lost season, as Toomer, who is at his best on deep routes, didn¡?t get a whole lot of these due to the problems with the offensive line and the change in quarterbacks. Given the problems on the offensive line, the Giants were often forced to keep extra players in to block, which results in two-man patterns down field.
With only two men going downfield, opposing teams can easily double or triple cover them, thus taking away the long ball.

This is what Toomer saw against Carolina, and for that matter for most of the season. When he did get open, Palmer could not get him the ball. On the second quarter post pattern, he did everything right to get 10 yards open down the field, but a floater by Palmer turned into an interception. And on another play in the third quarter, Toomer ran a 15-yard out pattern and was again wide open only to see a knuckle ball come from Palmer, another pass that was easily picked off.

12/21/03 from by Michael EIsen:

East Rutherford, N.J. - Amani Toomer's 66 receiving yards Sunday in Dallas boosted his season total to 1,010 and put him in some very select company.

This is the fifth consecutive season in which Toomer has more than 1,000 receiving yards, tying him with Marvin Harrison of Indianapolis for the second-longest current streak in the NFL. Randy Moss of Minnesota leads the list with six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons...No other Giant in history has more than three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Del Shofner did it from 1961-63, and Homer Jones matched the feat from 1966-68.

12/01/2003 Excerpts from by Michael Eisen:

Amani Toomer caught three passes for 110 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown. It was his third 100-yard game this season and the 19th of his career, extending his team record. The Giants are 10-9 in games in which Toomer has 100 receiving yards.

The 77-yard touchdown was the Giants' longest score of the season and tied for their longest play of 2003. Collins and Toomer hooked up for a 77-yard completion on Sept. 7 against St. Louis, but it was not a score.

Toomer's touchdown was the longest Giants score since Toomer caught an 82-yard pass from Collins last Dec. 22 at Indianapolis.

Seventeen seconds after Buffalo scored the game's first points, the Giants tied the game on a 77-yard bomb from Collins to Toomer that knotted the game at 7-7 with 14:32 left in the second period. On first down, Collins dropped back and fired a strike down the center of the field to Toomer, who caught the ball in stride at the 35-yard line and outraced the Bills secondary to the end zone.

It was the Giants' longest touchdown of the season.

"I pretty much just ran a two-on-one fast break on the safety," Toomer said. "Tim (Carter) did a great job of holding the other safety off me and making him indecisive. Kerry threw a great ball and I had a great opportunity to catch the ball and run. We did try to come back to that play later on, but obviously they had made some adjustments."

12/01/2003 From Inside

For the most part, the offense right now is not playing into Toomer's strengths. He is at his best when he can run 15 to 20-yard timing routes or can burst down the seam. The time that Collins has to throw just does not coincide with these type of routes. Early in the second quarter, Toomer took advantage of a coverage mismatch for a 77-yard touchdown reception. The Giants came out in a three wide receiver set but the Bills did not go into nickel coverage.
This left Toomer uncovered in the slot and allowed him to leave the slot untouched and burst between the safeties. The pass was perfect and Toomer did the rest as he sprinted for the score.

Quotes after the win over the Jets.

Quote from Kerry Collins following the win over the Jets:

Amani ran some great routes today; he really gave me places to throw the ball."

Quote from E-Giants by Dave Klein:

Toomer has 660 yards with his 33 receptions, by far the largest yardage total among receivers on the team.

Quote from Inside Football:

Midway through the third quarter, it became the Amani Toomer show. It started with him running a quick post on Aaron Beasley. He followed up that play with a straight fly route against Beasley, who had no help on either play and therefore was no match for Toomer. This was a great job of taking advantage of the mismatch and continuing to attack it until an adjustment is made by the opposition. Toomer continues to have a great season, making a number of catches while maintaining a sizable yard per catch average.

Quote from by Michael Eisen:

Amani Toomer caught six passes for a season-high 127 yards and a touchdown. It was Toomer's 18th career 100-yard game, a new Giants record. Toomer had been tied with Homer Jones, who had 17 100-yard games from 1964-69. The Giants are 10-8 in Toomer's 100-yard games and 15-14 under Fassel when at least one receiver gains 100 yards.

The score was Toomer's first since Sept. 21 at Washington. It was the 36th receiving touchdown of his career, breaking a tie with Homer Jones, Del Shofner and Aaron Thomas and moving him into fourth place on the team's career list. Frank Gifford is third with 43.

Toomer extended his team record by catching a pass in his 75th consecutive game.

Toomer has 388 career receptions, seven less than franchise record-holder Joe Morrison....

Toomer has 5,969 career yards and needs 31 to become the first Giant with 6,000.

Quote from Amani following the Jets victory:

"It was one of those things where last week I had some deep balls thrown to me and I didn't come up with them. This week I made a point of it, as soon as I see the ball up in the air I am going to be aggressive to it. This was the first time in about a month that I have seen single (coverage). Usually I have been getting a roll to my side. I had to take advantage of that."

11-19-03 Excepts from by Michael Eisen

Collins' 77-yard pass to Toomer on opening day against St. Louis is still the longest completion by an NFC team this season.

Toomer is seventh in the NFC with 750 receiving yards.

11-17-2003 Excerpt from Inside Football:

Amani Toomer
It wasn't until early in the second quarter that Collins looked to Toomer and when he did, it paid dividends. Toomer went in motion left to right and beat Troy Vincent down the sideline.

11-17-2003 Excerpt from E-Giants by Dave Klein:

Amani Toomer, the wide receiver who valiantly carries on, who caught six passes yesterday for 57 yards, simply shrugged when asked what he thought of the four plays from the Eagles' one-yard line that resulted in, well, nothing.

"I never complain or criticize play calls," he said. "That is the way it is. The coaches call the plays and we have to make them work. That is the way it should be. We just didn't get the touchdown."

Should the call on fourth down have been to kick an almost certain field goal? "It was difficult when we didn't score," he said, "but we still have the opportunity to turn things around. The season isn't over. We need to stay positive and see how things turn out."

11-17-2003 Excerpt from by Michael EIsen:

"The season is not over, because we still have six games left in the season," said split end Amani Toomer. "We still have the opportunity to turn things around. We need to stay as positive as ever and see how things turn out. We have to focus on next Monday night in Tampa Bay. This team has made some major comebacks in the past, and we're still rolling with the same people."

11/06/03 from E-Giants, by Dave Klein:

QUOTE TO REMEMBER -- "The Falcons aren't playing very well right now (they are working on a seven-game losing streak) but there is no reason they can't." -- Giants' wide receiver Amani Toomer. "There is no need for coach Fassel to remind us they are a 1-7 team; we are so far behind where we wanted to be now it just isn't necessary."

Toomer Named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

Giants wideout earns honor for efforts during team's 31-28 OT win over Jets.

CLICK HERE to read the article from

10-30-2003 Excerpt from BBI:

Toomer only caught three passes, but these three went for 23, 22, and 51 yards. The 22-yard play was key on the Giants’ field goal drive right before halftime, as Toomer broke a tackle to pick up extra yardage

Amani Toomer - Getting Comfortable

Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer struggled through his first three years in New York, but things are clicking now.
By Lisa Zimmerman, NFLPLAYERS.COM
Click Here to read this article.

10-24-2003 Excerpt from Inside Football:

When you are having problems getting an offense started, the best way to start with the basics and then work your way up. Toomer did just that on the third play from scrimmage as he made a nice seal block on the outside to give Tiki Barber room to get to the corner. This isn't the deep pass contribution everyone wants to see; however it was something so subtle, yet so important in getting things going for New York.

On the second drive of the game, Toomer started to get involved in the passing game as he, like Ike Hilliard, was able to take advantage of the soft Vikings zone. Toomer got involved right away in the second half as the Giants opened up the second half with a flea-flicker. It was a well-conceived play as it started with a pitch to the right to Barber followed by a pitch back to Collins. Toomer displayed patience as he waited for the play to develop enough to fool the defense into thinking it was a run before he turned on the jets and burst down the middle of the field. He managed an easy couple of steps on the defender which set up the big gainer.

10-24-2003 Excerpt from by Michael Eisen:

Collins threw two touchdown passes, increasing his total as a Giant to 77.
Toomer (26) and Hilliard (22) have combined to catch 48 of the 77 (62.3 percent).

Excerpt from by Michael Eisen:

"I think we're having success, but we haven't been seeing the fruit of our success," split end Amani Toomer said. "We haven't put the points on the board. We have a lot of first downs, third down conversions are good, time of possession is good. But as soon as we get in that red zone, we haven't been precise enough (the Giants have six touchdowns in 15 trips inside the opposition 20-yard line). Every time you get in that red zone, everything kind of compresses itself, which forces teams to be more exact in their execution."

Excerpt from Inside

Midway through the second quarter, facing a third and nine in Patriot
the Giants needed a big play to keep the drive alive. Enter Toomer, who
was matched man-to-man against Ty Law. Toomer proceeded to run an 11-yard
comeback route, bursting toward the sideline and starting back to the ball,
which was on the money for the first down.

Excerpt from by Michael Eisen:

Although few Giants spent their free Sunday flipping from game-to-game, all were aware that their division rivals all won their games, and the imperative it places on the Giants to do the same.

"Everybody won, which shows how competitive up and down our division is," Amani Toomer said. "There is no team out of it."

"It's going to be competitive," Toomer said. "I was watching the games thinking, `We have a lot of work to do.' There are a lot of teams out there, especially in our division, that are playing really well. When we play against them, we're going to have to be ready. You never know how it's going to turn out, but it's looking pretty thick right now."

After three games, Amani is 3rd in the NFL with 305 yards received. He is also 3rd in the NFL in average yards per catch with an average of 23.5 yards.

Three excerpts from by Michael Eisen:

1. Toomer caught four passes, increasing his career total to 368 and moving his past Frank Gifford (367) and into second place on the franchises career list. Only Joe Morrison (395) is ahead of Toomer, whose 81 receiving yards extended his team record to 5,614. Toomer's touchdown was his 34th, one behind Aaron Thomas, Del Shofner and Homer Jones, who are tied for fourth in team history. Toomer has scored a touchdown in each of his last four games against Washington.

2. Collins threw long for Toomer, whose fake outside and move inside enabled him to elude Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey. Toomer caught the ball at the 13-yard line and stepped into the end zone for his second touchdown of the season.

"It was a double move," Toomer said. "We had run the play earlier and he (Bailey) and the safety had really jumped it hard. I came off the field and said, `coach Fassel, we need to run this double move again.' We ran it, and it was wide open. I slowed down, and Champ came on my back and fell down. It was like textbook stuff. You can't draw it up any better than that."

3. "For us to come in and beat that team on the road," Toomer said, "and come back after they tied the game, it lets you feel good about everybody in this locker room."

Another Game, Another Two Records
by Gail Bahr

It’s almost becoming monotonous.

It seems that every time Amani Toomer laces up his cleats he sets a franchise record, and last night’s loss to Dallas was no exception.

His first reception of the night gave Toomer a catch in 69 consecutive games and a new team record. Last week, Amani tied with Ike Hilliard, whose 68 game streak ended last year. Amani has the 10th longest active streak in the NFL.

And with Frank Gifford in the stands to applaud, Amani broke Gifford’s franchise record, which has stood for 39 years, for the most yards gained in a career. A forty-yard reception in the second quarter moved Amani past Gifford’s 5,434 yards to 5,459 yards and he finished the game with 5,533 yards and a new franchise record.

Toomer had seven receptions, 126 yards and a touchdown in the game. This was the 17th 100-yard game of his career and it tied Homer Jones’ franchise record, established 34 years ago.

His seven receptions upped Toomer’s career total to 364. Frank Gifford is second on the franchise career list with 367 and Joe Morrison is first with 395.

Next week his first reception of the game will move him past Homer Jones and set yet another franchise record.

Sooner, rather than later, Amani will run out of franchise records and will have to content himself with shattering NFL records.

N.Y. Giants on Amani

Will Allen:
Having Amani on the team is so good for me and for us. I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves because I think he’s one of the best receivers in the league. He’s crafty. He may not be a blazing 4.2 guy but he’s fast enough to get by you. I think he’s very crafty and he plays smart and he’s going to make the tough catches. He’ll make the critical catches in the critical situation when you really need him to catch the ball. If I’m a guy on the team or a coach or a fan, he’s the guy I want on the team. He’s a tough guy to cover.

Kato Serwanga:
Amani’s good. He does good work. I appreciate being a teammate of Amani.

Johnnie Harris:
I like Toomer. He works hard and we give each other advice. He asked me one day what I had seen he could do to get better…He always is trying to improve and I admire that. He listens to what I say and that goes both ways. We give each other tips.

Will Peterson:

Between my first year and last year, I thought Amani got a lot quicker and crisper in his breaks.
And coming in here (to training camp) he seems to be on the same page as when he finished off last year. The competition is great in our secondary in rushing the receivers and Amani’s pretty much the leader of the receiving corps. He’s just doing an excellent job and he’s getting better every day. He’s the guy that you know will come out and keep improving.

Jeremy Shockey:

He’s (Amani’s) actually taught me a couple of things like getting off the line on the press and a couple on different things on running routes. He’s definitely helped me.

Kerry Collins:

He became much more of a professional, and that's a case of a lot of maturation and personal growth. He's not as hard on himself now. He doesn't question every mistake. He just goes back out.

Tiki Barber:
He (Amani) has had a journey similar to mine early in his career, where we both struggled. Then he had a few opportunities which he took advantage of. Then he had an epiphany about what it takes to be successful in this league, and his game has done nothing but grow since then.

Coach Robinson:
Coach: You always work on all aspects of a guy’s game. You try to polish his techniques, not necessarily add new ones. Amani is very competitive; he always comes to camp in great shape and he takes pride in doing well in practice. He is a great player but he still works hard to get better. He sets a good example for the other players.

Week 1: Giants Game

Amani Toomer caught two passes for 98 yards, including a 77-yarder. It was the 68th consecutive game in which he has caught at least one pass, tying Ike Hilliard's team record.

The 98 yards increased Toomer's career total to 5,407, moving him just 27 yards behind franchise record-holder Frank Gifford.

The Path to Stardom
by Gail Bahr

He is a legend at De La Salle, with arguably the best high school football program in the nation, though his career there didn’t end on a high note. Amani Toomer’s last game for De La Salle on 12/06/91, “Game Zero,” is also the last time De La Salle lost a game. (defeated by Pittsburgh 34 to 27). Asked if he remembers that long-ago game, Toomer laughed and said, “Just all the time. All the time.”
He opted to attend college at Michigan because, in Amani’s words, “ I wanted to get out of California and go to a school with good academics and a really competitive football team that could win a national championship. The only thing I thought Michigan lacked was a good social life.”

Apparently the social life wasn’t all bad because it was there that he met Yola Drabowski, now his wife.

At Michigan , Amani also created happy memories on the field; beating Penn State with an unbelieveable goal line stand, running away from Minnesota’s man coverage time and time again and finishing his college career ranked second on Michigan’s all-time career list.

Then, Amani Toomer entered the 1996 NFL draft and was selected in the second round (34th overall pick) by the New York Giants.

Now, all the hard work over the years was supposed to pay off and the road ahead was to be filled with achievement.

But life is seldom so easy or the road so smooth.

Toomer kicked off his NFL career in typical fashion by returning an 87-yard punt for a touchdown, still the longest punt return in franchise history.

He played in seven games in 96, starting for the first time against Dallas where he stumbled on a pass route on the first play from scrimmage, resulting in an interception by the Cowboys.

In October against another division rival, the Washington Redskins, Toomer injured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, ending his rookie season and necessitating reconstructive surgery.

As he rehabilitated his knee and watched his team from the bench, Coach Dan Reeves alternately chided and encouraged his rookie.
“I don’t think he believed I took the game seriously or worked at it hard enough,” Amani recalls. “Coach Reeves was an old-school NFL coach and initially it was difficult for me to adjust.”

Reeves then left the Giants to coach the Atlanta Falcons. Enter Jim Fassel, who cast a jaundiced eye in Toomer’s direction and told him he wasn’t living up to his potential.

At the crossroads of his career, Amani decided he would become a better player and in so doing “do the things I always thought I could do… I feel like things are going my way now because I made the decision that everything I was going to do in football would be because I wanted to do it. My experiences working out in the off-season and my experiences traveling around the world have all enabled me to concentrate better on what I'm doing… I always felt I could produce for this team. I just thought it was a matter of time and in the NFL time isn’t something you always get. I’m grateful to the organization for staying with me and giving me the time to develop.”

Coaches Reeves and Fassel hurled the gauntlet at Amani but it was he who decided to pick it up and run with it.

And run he did.

The route he took now weaves its way through the N.Y. Giants’ franchise record book.

Building Trust

Chemistry between a quarterback and wide receiver is what makes the passing game work.
But such rapport isn’t accomplished easily.
It takes time.
Time and performance.
A quarterback has to be confident that he can rely on a receiver to run the proper route, to make the catch and to gain the critical yards after the catch. Beyond that, he has to trust the receiver to alert him when he’s getting open, even though the receiver may not be in the progression of reads.(or to be an extra pair of eyes for him)
Kerry Collins, after three full seasons as the Giants' starting quarterback, and Amani Toomer, beginning his eighth year with the Giants, have built this type of rapport.
Toomer, normally quiet and reserved, is not one to demand the ball but during a November 2002 game between the Giants and division rival Washington Amani was getting open repeatedly.
Normally Collins has between three and four reads on each play and Amani wasn't in the progression. In Toomer's words, "I was the decoy."
Since he was not an early read in the progression, Collins wasn't looking his way.
In the huddle Amani told Collins, “I don’t want to go into your reads or anything, Kerry, but when we ran that play before, I was open both times. You might just want to give me a look.”
On the next play Collins looked.
And then he threw a lightning quick strike to Amani.
The result?
A leaping catch,
a defensive back spinning in circles,
a cloud of dust
and a touchdown.
On several occasions head coach Jim Fassel has said that he trusts Amani to analyze plays and to give him feedback. He indicated that if Amani said he was getting open, he would see to it that Amani got the ball. Laughingly, Coach Fassel added that he had just opened the door for every receiver in the league to tell his coach he should always get the damn ball.
The difference, as Coach Fassel is acutely aware, is that when Amani says he’s getting open, he is getting open..

Two Peas in a Pod

One is fire.
One is ice.

One is a brash-talking, trash-talking, half wild country boy from Ada, Oklahoma, a man-child who launched himself into the NFL with a shout.
One is a soft-spoken, sophisticated Californian, for whom flamboyant displays are unknown.

One disses everybody.
The other disses nobody, saying, “Everyone in the league is here because they’re good at what they do.”

Jeremy Shockey gestures to the fans, inciting them to fever pitch. He barks at defenders, explaining that they can’t catch him and God help them if they do.
Amani Toomer is silent, his actions on the field speaking for him.

Shockey is explosive but Amani is the one who can go long and stretch a defense to its limits.

So, while on the surface, Jeremy Shockey and Amani Toomer couldn’t be more different, in fact the similarities outweigh the differences.

Both share a fierce love of the game and respect for each other and both are determined to be the best at his position.

Toomer said they compete with each other for yards and catches because it keeps them both fresh.

It also keeps Giants’ fans happy.

Amani's Spare Time
by Gail Bahr

When Amani Toomer isn't practicing or traveling or working with kids through his own foundation, what does he do with his spare time?

(click here for the complete story)

Toomer a Real Hometown Hero
Giants wideout continues support for after-school programs.
By Michael Eisen,

May 1, 2003

East Rutherford, N.J. - Amani Toomer, the Giants record-setting wide receiver, will tonight receive one of the inaugural Hometown Heroes Awards, presented by the United Way Of New York City.

(click here for the complete story)

N. Y. Giants’ 2003 Draft

Day 1:

Round 1: William Joseph, DT, Miami, 6’ 5’, 308, 4.97--- generally considered to be one of the top defensive tackles in this draft, it was something of a surprise that he dropped down far enough for the Giants to snatch him up. Aside from good height, he has very long arms and big hands. He has a burst off the snap and can penetrate consistently though he doesn’t always time his moves perfectly. Since Miami rotated eight linemen, it can be expected that his timing will improve with experience. He takes good angles on the ball, has strong hands and can clog the middle. At times he looked like a dominant run stuffer. At other times, he didn’t fight off blocks well enough. As an every down player, he will need to improve his conditioning and strength and the lack of consistency should disappear.

Round 2: Osi Umenyiora, DE, Troy State, 6’ 3”, 280, 4.78----Umenyiora is a developmental player who never played organized football till he was a high school junior. Coming from a small school he needs a lot of technique work but he offers a high upside. He’s a very fine athlete with size, speed and a quick burst off the snap. He moves well and can chase down the quarterback. As he learns technique, he should be able to contribute immediately on passing downs as he is an exceptional pass rusher. As a senior he was second in the nation (to Terrell Suggs) with 16 quarterback sacks.

Round 3: Vishante Shiancoe, TE, Morgan State, 6’4 ?, 251, 4.62---another raw talent with a high upside. He has good size and speed and is quick as well as fast. He has big, soft hands, good coordination and usually went in motion. Just how good a receiver he is remains to be seen as he played for a school that struggled throwing the ball. He isn’t the blocking TE who can come in and replace Dan Campbell though his blocking on the move is decent now. He needs more strength to play effectively at the point of attack as he is currently unable to generate much movement. A year in the Giants’ strength and conditioning program should yield good results.

Day 2

Round 4: Roderick Babers, CB, Texas, 5’ 8 3/4”, 190, 4.43---a productive three-year starter, Babers is a little undersized but has relatively long arms and can jump well. He’s athletic and has good instincts and body control. He has a cornerback’s loose hips and doesn’t lose much when he turns to run. He puts forth good effort as a tackler and does well considering his size. He’s better in man coverage than zone. He needs work catching the ball as he will drop some potential interceptions. On the Giants, he’ll contribute as a nickel or dime back.

Round 5: Dave Diehl, OT/OG, Illinois, 6’5 _, 310, 5.28---Diehl looks like very good value here. He has played every position on the offensive line except center and brings the Giants exceptional versatility. He has good size and appears to have the frame to add more bulk. Diehl’s greatest strength is his fine technique. He has quick feet and can mirror and slide and appears to be athletic. Some scouts downgraded him as a finesse player. He isn’t particularly physical and doesn’t always maintain good leverage, which causes him to have difficulty sustaining blocks. His athleticism, intelligence and technique are the traits most prized by the Giants’ offensive line coach.

Round 6:
a. Willie Ponder, WR, Southeast Missouri, 6’ _, 205, 4.51---another small school product, Ponder was very productive against a lower level of competition. In 2002, he had 87 catches for 1453 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also was an effective kickoff return man, averaging 21.4 yards on 12 kick returns. Ponder is very athletic with soft hands and will give his best effort on every down. Being from a small school, he needs a lot of technique refinement as his route running is not crisp and he doesn’t escape the jam well.
b. Frank Walker, CB, Tuskegee, 5’ 10 _,197, 4.51---also coming from a small school, Walker has to be considered developmental. He has a quick first step and hits hard though he needs to do a better job wrapping up his prey. He’s a good athlete with deceptive speed.
c. David Tyree, WR, Syracuse, 6’ 3/4,198, 4.56---Tyree is a durable, four year player who contributed on all special teams. He had a breakout game in 02 against Virginia Tech, catching 9 passes for 229 yards. He plays aggressively and is a good blocker. He isn’t very quick off the line of scrimmage and seems to lack explosiveness into and out of his routes. The Giants have said they are very impressed with Tyree’s special teams ability.

Round 7:
a. Charles Drake, Safety, MICHIGAN, 6’1”, 203, 4.5---very athletic, Drake has a lot of upside. He began his Michigan career at running back, moving to safety in 2000, so he lacks experience at safety. He’s a good hitter who seldom misses a tackle. He demonstrates good footwork. He sometimes seems a little hesitant but that is likely due to his relative inexperience at safety.
b. Wayne Lucier, Center, Colorado, 6’ 3 _, 299, 5.22---although Lucier played guard last season and never allowed a sack, he projects back to center where he played in 2001. His versatility gives him an added dimension. He’s quick into his blocks and demonstrates good technique. He needs to improve his strength as he can be pushed back by big bull- rushers. Lucier has a great work ethic and plays hard. He’s alert and actively helps out teammates. He doesn’t long-snap. Again, Lucier demonstrates the three traits prized by line coach McNally-intelligence, athleticism and technique.
c. Kevin Walter, WR, Eastern Michigan, 6’3’, 222, 4.57---a possession receiver with some deceptive speed. He has big, soft hands and can adjust to a poorly thrown pass. He’s a good athlete and is strong. He seems to have only one speed. He has improved throughout his college career.

Draftnik’s Alert

Join the festivities on Saturday, April 26th at Giants Stadium. Watch the first round of the draft with several New York Giants’ players and tour their locker room.  You can even check out the new Field Turf.

Players expected to attend include Amani Toomer, Will Allen, Keith Hamilton and many others, including Giants alumni Harry Carson, Howard Cross and O.J.Anderson.

Doors are scheduled to open at 11:30 A.M. Tickets are required and may be purchased at the Giants. dotcom store or at Gate D beginning at 11:00A.M. Saturday.

2003 Michigan Draft Eligibles
by Gail Bahr
(With special thanks to Rob of Boomer’s Draft Guide for his e-mails and excellent information)

Probably the first Michigan player who will hear his name called on April 26th is:

Bennie Joppru, tight end, 6’4”, 246, didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the combine but at Michigan’s Pro Day he averaged 4.78. Joppru had an excellent senior season and demonstrated soft, reliable hands. He can make the acrobatic catch and adjust to the poorly thrown ball. At the Senior Bowl he made one outstanding catch, pulling in a deflected ball while taking a wallop.

(click here for the complete story)

South Africa

My wife, Yola, and I recently returned from a vacation in South Africa and had such a great time we're already talking about returning.

We flew in and out of Johannesburg but didn't really spend any time there. We just stayed there long enough to make connections to the game parks we wanted to visit. Another time we'd like to spend some time in Johannesburg, getting to know a little about the history and culture of the city.

(click here for the complete story)

2003 Kicks-Off by Gail Bahr

The 2003 season officially began on March 24th with the start of the off –season strength and conditioning program. Several veterans, among them Amani Toomer, were excused from participating in the first days of the program. Amani was traveling in South Africa and arrived home at 6 A.M on the morning of the 24th. Despite a tedious 14 hour flight, he rushed home, dropped off Yola, took a quick shower, jumped back in the car and arrived at Giants Stadium by 9:30AM. 

Asked why he showed up when he had an excused absence-to say nothing of jet lag-Amani said, “I want to get going again. We were so close last year and I'm excited about this coming season. So, I wanted to come in and get things going.”

The off-season program will run through June 19th with the veteran players having no workouts the week of May 26. The veteran mini-camp is scheduled for June 2-5th.

The NFL draft will be held on April 26-27th

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