Although Giants coach Tom Coughlin has complained that his team didn’t receive a chance to match the offer receiver Steve Smith surprisingly accepted from the Eagles, Giants G.M. Jerry Reese acknowledges that when a guy is a free agent it means that he’s, you know, free.
“People change rosters,” Reese told reporters Thursday, via Nate Davis of USA Today. “It’s called free agency for a reason. Those guys are free to go somewhere else. We made responsible offers to everybody. Sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you want it to work out, but we play the hand we’re dealt and we’ll win with it.”
And so Reese isn’t bothered (or, if he is, he isn’t saying it) by the departure of Smith or any other former Giants.
“I’m not blindsided or surprised by anything in free agency,” Reese said. “It is what it is. Like I said, it’s almost a dog-eat-dog situation in free agency sometimes.”
Still, the fans are getting upset with the departures, especially since the Giants haven’t won a playoff game since Super Bowl XLII. (If it’s any consolation, neither have the Patriots.) But Reese says he can take the heat.
“I’ll show you how under the microscope I get,” Reese said. “From the very beginning, it’s pretty vicious the mail I got. This is a big boy’s sport. If you are thin-skinned in this market or in the National Football League, period, you’re in the wrong job. I am tougher than I look.”
He’s right. The passion that fans have for the game manifests itself in many ways, including passionate criticism of anyone who may be undermining their team’s interests. If they didn’t have that passion, football wouldn’t be football.