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Toomer Won’t Likely Be Back

Interesting and shocking news from Amani Toomer: (From NY Daily News)


Amani Toomer’s long and storied career with the Giants has come to a surprisingly bitter end.

The 34-year-old free agent receiver said today that not only does he not expect to be back with the Giants next season, but he’s not sure he’d even come back if they made him an offer. He’s still upset with the way the team phased him out of the offense down the stretch – – something he felt they were trying to do right from the start of the season.

“They tried to do it earlier in the season, but I kept playing well and keeping myself in the mix,” Toomer said today while he was in East Tampa helping build a local playground for an event sponsored by Home Depot. “They let me play myself out of it, then kind of pulled the rug out from under me. I was fighting it. I was fighting it for as long as I could. I kept making big plays. But I feel like they made a decision that, ‘Look, we can’t keep this kid around. We’ve got to turn the page. We can’t just keep letting him go on and on.’”

As a result, Toomer said, he’s come to the conclusion that “I definitely think that in the current situation I don’t think I could go back.” He said his agent has had some talks with the Giants, but nothing substantial. And he’s looking forward to seeing what he’s worth on the open market when the free-agent signing period begins on Feb. 27.

“It’s a very touchy situation for me right now,” he said. “I mean, it’s hard not to get emotional just because I’ve been there so long. But I understand. I’ve seen it happen many, many times before to other players. It’s part of the business. We have a disagreement. They have one opinion of me, I have another. When the relationship’s good it’s good, when it’s not, it’s not.”

It’s hard to say when the relationship between the Giants and one of their all-time greatest receivers soured. Toomer suggested it began to spiral right after he had five catches for 85 yards and one touchdown in a win at Washington on Nov. 30 – two days after Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg. With Burress about to be suspended for the season, Toomer thought he’d become the No. 1 target.

Instead, his role mysteriously decreased.

“I think it ultimately hurt the team and it contributed greatly to our situation right now, being out of it,” Toomer said. “I just think that the last couple of games I wasn’t a big part of the offense. We lost a big percentage of those games. You can’t tell me I didn’t play a big role in it. I think it did. The first game out I had one of my best games of the year when he was out. From that game on, I don’t know what happened.”

In the last five games, including the divisional playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Toomer had just 11 catches for 126 yards and no touchdowns. Toomer said the strategy to de-emphasize him while the passing game struggled “(didn’t) really make much sense when you think about it, with us being not able to throw the ball effectively and keep the defenses off guard.”

However, he never asked for an explanation of why he was being ignored.

“No, because you know what? No matter what, they’ve got an agenda,” Toomer said. “I could talk until I’m blue in the face, it’s not going to make any difference. And you know from dealing with the head coach that’s not how he is. You could talk to him, but if he has something in his mind that’s what’s going to go on.

“I’m not going to sit there and make myself look like an idiot. And (complaining) is not going to do anything but make me look like an idiot. No good is going to possibly come out of it. They’re going to do what they’re going to do regardless.”

What was the “agenda” the coaching staff had?

“I think towards the end of the season it became very apparent, especially coming off one of my best games of the year,” he said. “Then all of a sudden I’m getting my playing time cut in half. It was a statement to me.

“The agenda was they wanted to see what the younger guys could do.”

In large part because of that, Toomer said he questioned the Giants’ “approach” towards this season and added “I wasn’t surprised at all” that the season ended the way it did. The Giants, of course, lost four of their last five games – all after Burress’ suspension started – including a divisional playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at home.

“It just seems like some of those games it didn’t seem the same,” Toomer said. “Last year when everybody was out there on the line, everything was pedal to the metal. All of a sudden this year it was a different kind of feeling. I don’t know if it was complacency. I don’t know. The way in which we approached some of these games, I questioned it going in myself. I didn’t say anything because I wanted to try to make it work out. But in the end, ultimately, my suspicions came true. At the end of the game I wasn’t surprised at all. I felt like our approach wasn’t the same as it was in the past.”

Toomer was so bothered by that, he didn’t speak to the media after what likely was his final game as a Giant, nor did he speak the next day when the Giants cleaned out their lockers. He spoke today, after having three weeks to think about it, and sounded like he’s prepared to be an ex-Giant.

“It’ll be strange, but at the end of the day you have to take all the nostalgia out of it,” he said. “That’s for the fans. As a player you have to divorce yourself from that and look at it as a business. It’s a hard process for me but it’s what I’m coming to grips with.”

Wow. I thought for sure that Toomer would be back. Now, his Giant career ends with a non-classy statement, coming from someone who was always classy. Amazing. Not the way anyone thought his career with the team would end this way.

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