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Coughlin To Visit Troops:

From Ralph Vacchiano:

Danny Clark and Osi Umenyiora have already been overseas in recent years to visit U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf.

Now it’s Tom Coughlin’s turn.

The Giants coach will be part of the NFL’s inaugural USO Coaches Tour later this month, when he joins Titans coach Jeff Fisher, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, and former NFL coaches Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden on a morale-building trip that will likely take him through both Iraq and Afghanistan. The NFL has been doing this withplayers for more than 40 years.

Clark was part of the a 10-day tour with NFL players in March. Umenyiora made the memorable trip in 2008.

“I have always had great respect for those who served,” Coughlin said. “In my time, we had the draft. Today, these people who are in Iraq and Afghanistan are volunteers. To spend time with them is to be able to sense the intelligence and the passion of these people and to stand in admiration and awe of this combination.”

That Coughlin would be included on the inaugural trip is hardly a surprise. He’s long been a strong supporter of the U.S. military who often invokes stories and themes from the armed services into his speeches to his players. During the 2007 season, he struck up a bond with Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, who lost both his legs in Iraq. Gadson, of course, became a fixture on the Giants’ sidelines during the Super Bowl run, even addressing the team several times that year.

He also struck up a friendship with Ray Odierno, the Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq. Odierno, a Giants fan who hails from Rockaway, N.J., wrote to Coughlin a few years ago and visited with the coach in March, 2008, after the Giants’ Super Bowl run. Coughlin then invited him to stop up at training camp in Albany that summer – – on his way to Iraq for his new command – – where he addressed the entire team.


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