As Giants receiver Victor Cruz disagrees with himself as to whether he’ll have a reality show, the Giants and receiver Hakeem Nicks disagree with each other as to whether the team knew Nicks would be exercising his right to not attend “voluntary” offseason practices.
Per a source with knowledge of Nicks’ situation, the first-round pick who’s entering the final year of his rookie deal told the team he wouldn’t be present for optional offseason workouts. Coach Tom Coughlin, however, claims he wasn’t informed that Nicks would be choosing not to participate.
And while sources close to Nicks continue to insist the absence has nothing to do with his current contract, there’s a chance (in our view) that Nicks wants to protect himself against the kind of injury that could undermine or obliterate his ability to cash in come 2014.
If 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree had chosen not to participate in “voluntary” OTAs, his Achilles tendon wouldn’t have required surgical reattachment. While Nicks necessarily will be exposed to harm during training camp, the preseason, the regular season, and (possibly) the postseason, Nicks has no reason to tempt fate any more than required, especially if the Giants aren’t going to give him long-term financial security without completing his rookie deal.
Besides, these practice are voluntary. The fans and the media seem to think the label is meaningless, possibly because coaches like Coughlin are able to make statements indicating they aren’t voluntary, without correction or consequence from the NFL or NFLPA.
So instead of all the hand wringing about why Nicks isn’t there, maybe the league and the union should remind Coughlin that Nicks doesn’t have to be there, and that any word or deed suggesting he does constitutes a violation of the CBA.