Giants downplay 'hazing' flap


While the New York Giants understand the public's concern over a perceived hazing incident involving Prince Amukamara, several players insist that throwing the second-year cornerback into a tub of ice water was a football tradition and not bullying.

Amukamara and Jason Pierre-Paul, the Pro Bowl defensive end who threw him into the metal ice tub, maintained Monday that they are friends and there was nothing personal involved.

Neither would say what triggered the obscenity-laced incident.

Most players on the Super Bowl champions seemed more concerned that punter Steve Weatherford actually posted the video, and that it might give youngsters the idea that bullying and hazing are OK.

"First of all, absolutely none of us condone bullying," defensive captain Justin Tuck said. "We've heard that. So just go ahead and put it out there. None of us condone bullying. And you don't want to put anybody in a situation where they can get hurt.

"With that said, we just got to do a better job of being conscious of how that looks and how people can perceive it."

Coach Tom Coughlin said after Monday's practice he has outlawed any locker room antics that could lead to injury and warned players about their language. He once again lectured the team about the use of social media and talked to all the players involved, except Pierre-Paul, who he plans to address soon.

Coughlin refused to say whether any of the players were fined.

Weatherford posted the video of the recent training camp incident on Saturday. He took it down Sunday and apologized Monday to teammates and fans.

The video shows Pierre-Paul carrying Amukamara over his shoulder in the Giants' locker room at the University at Albany and seemingly slamming him into a tub of ice water. Amukamara gets out quickly, but the look on his face seems to indicate he is upset.

Amukamara, who missed the first half of last season with a broken foot, acknowledged he was lucky that he wasn't hurt, but was adamant he was not a victim of hazing. He said Pierre-Paul did not owe him an apology, and labeled the incident "horseplay that was taken too far."

Pierre-Paul, 23, indicated his days of throwing players into tubs are over.

"I feel like me and Prince, we're cool," said Pierre-Paul, who had a career-best 16 sacks last season. "It is something that we were having fun and games and the media took out of proportion."

In other Giants news, receiver Hakeem Nicks practiced for basically the first time since the start of training camp. He was taken off the physically unable to perform list last week and was very limited until Monday's practice.

Neither Nicks nor Coughlin would speculate whether Nicks would play in either of the final two preseason games.

■ BILLS - It's lights out for Shawne Merriman in Buffalo after the Bills cut the one-time star pass-rusher. General manager Buddy Nix said the decision was based in part on the potential the Bills saw in two younger players who had been competing with Merriman for the fourth defensive end spot.

Though Nix wouldn't say which players were competing for the roster spot created by Merriman's release, the Bills' latest depth chart had Robert Eddins move up into the backup position behind Mario Williams. Kyle Moore, a third-year player signed off Detroit's practice squad last November, has also looked impressive during training camp.

Nix said Merriman's health wasn't an issue and added he made the move now to provide the player a better chance to sign with another team.

■ DOLPHINS - Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill won the starting job for Miami. First-year coach Joe Philbin announced that Tannehill will start the Dolphins' opener Sept. 9 at Houston.

Tannehill beat out Matt Moore, who finished last year as Miami's starter. Camp began with a three-way competition for the job, but veteran David Garrard fell out of contention when he underwent minor knee surgery Aug. 11.

Tannehill, who played at Texas A&M, was drafted with the eighth overall pick, which made him the first quarterback taken in the opening round by the Dolphins since Dan Marino in 1983.

■ COLTS - Receiver Austin Collie has been diagnosed with at least his third concussion in less than 22 months. Coach Chuck Pagano said Collie returned to the team complex and "felt good," but the team would not use him again until he was cleared by the team's medical staff.

Collie, who missed seven of the final eight regular-season games in 2010 season after sustaining two other concussions, was hurt during Sunday's 26-24 loss at Pittsburgh.

■ TITANS - Tennessee picked Jake Locker as its starter over veteran Matt Hasselbeck, choosing to wait no further to play the quarterback the Titans drafted in 2011. Coach Mike Munchak announced the decision, saying Locker's time is now in giving the Titans their best chance to win the AFC South.

■ CHIEFS - Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali will miss the Sept. 9 game against the Falcons without pay after violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, the league said. Hali will be fined an additional game check and be eligible to return in Week 2.

The league did not disclose the nature of the violation.

The Chiefs are already missing starting cornerback Brandon Flowers, who has been sidelined by a foot injury, and safety Kendrick Lewis, who hurt his right shoulder Friday against St. Louis. It's unknown when either will be back.

■ SAINTS - New Orleans acquired eight-year veteran linebacker Barrett Ruud from the Seattle Seahawks for an undisclosed draft pick in attempt to fortify an injury-plagued position.

Starting middle linebacker Curtis Lofton has a high ankle sprain and starting weakside linebacker David Hawthorne had arthroscopic surgery Monday to repair torn cartilage in his knee, which he injured Friday against Jacksonville.

Also, top reserve Chris Chamberlain is out for the season after suffering a torn left knee ligament against the Jaguars.

Ruud played six seasons in Tampa Bay and one in Tennessee before signing with Seattle last April.

■ COWBOYS - Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant will be treated for tendinitis in his right knee after an MRI revealed no tear to a ligament or tendon. Bryant injured his knee during a joint practice Monday with San Diego. No timetable has been set for his return to practice.

■ BRONCOS - Denver's beleaguered defense got a boost with the return of safety Quinton Carter, cornerback Tracy Porter and rookie linebacker Danny Trevathan.

Trevathan (ankle) had been out since Aug. 9, Porter (illness) since Aug. 14 and Carter since July 27, when he popped his right hamstring, which led doctors to discover he needed arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

■ FALCONS - Atlanta lost backup offensive tackle Will Svitek to a season-ending right arm injury. Coach Mike Smith said Svitek suffered the upper-arm injury during Sunday's practice, but provided no other details.

■ REDSKINS - Brian Orakpo (shoulder) and Brandon Meriweather (knee) escaped serious damage from scary-looking injuries in Washington's second preseason game. Coach Mike Shanahan said neither player will need surgery, although both will sit out the final two games of the preseason.

■ 49ERS - Coach Jim Harbaugh said running back Brandon Jacobs' left knee could be healthy enough for him to start the regular-season opener at Green Bay on Sept. 9. Jacobs was hurt during Saturday's preseason loss at Houston.

Running back LaMichael James, the team's second-round pick out of Oregon, hurt his ankle against Houston and was carted off, but said he's ready to practice.

■ VIKINGS - Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph passed his post-concussion tests and returned to practice, but cornerback Chris Cook didn't pass his tests and was held out. Both players were hurt last week against Buffalo.

■ JAGUARS - A person familiar with the situation said Jacksonville will play multiple home games in London, beginning in 2013. The person said the Jaguars will play four home games in London, one each year between 2013 and 2016.

 

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