July 31, 2007 New York Giants Injury Update – Kuehl Hurt: Long Snapper Ryan Kuehl was carted off the field yesterday evening after suffering is being called a “lower-leg injury” by the Giants. The severity of the injury will not be known until Kuehl undergoes an MRI this morning.

WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), WR Amani Toomer (knee), DE Justin Tuck (foot), and CB Corey Webster (hip) did not practice in the morning as scheduled, but did practice in the evening. DE Osi Umenyiora (hip), also as expected, practiced in the morning, but not the evening.

CB Kevin Dockery (head) is still not practicing.

John Mara Speaks Out on Strahan Situation; Giants Finally Connect with Strahan: Giants’ co-owner John Mara spoke out publicly yesterday for the first time since DE Michael Strahan refused to report to training camp last week.

“This is no way for his career to end,” said Mara. “He should go out on a much better note than this. I still believe he’s going to be in at some point, but who knows?”

Mara said he has not spoken to Strahan. “I’m disappointed he’s not here, but at the end of the day he’s got to make a decision as to whether or not he wants to play football,” Mara said. “He obviously doesn’t know what he wants to do right now; if he decides he wants to come back, we’ll welcome him back. Hopefully sooner rather than later, because we can’t wait forever.”

“I can’t sit here and tell you what (the timeframe is that we will wait),” said Mara. “I have to talk to (Head Coach) Tom (Coughlin) and (General Manager) Jerry (Reese) about that and see what they think. But obviously, there are other options out there. I don’t think any of them are as good as Michael. But you have to at some point decide you’re either going to live without him or sit there forever.”

“He did approach us back in March about his contract,” said Mara. “That didn’t go anywhere. But he had been in the off-season program. He had been in mini-camps, so it came as a surprise. But what are you going to do? You move on. We have some good players here, we have some other options. We’ll just move on. There’s nothing you can do about it at this point.”

“As long I can remember we’ve always had contract issues with guys,” said Mara. “We had them with Harry Carson, we had them with Lawrence Taylor, George Martin, Phil Simms. It’s just part of the business. I don’t think so. I’d like to have him here, but at the end of the day it’s up to him. You can’t force a guy to be here if he doesn’t want to be.”

Coughlin and Reese did talk to Strahan on Monday. “I talked to Michael (Monday) afternoon, late,” said Coughlin. “Jerry has talked to him as well. I had a very good conversation. It is obvious that he has some decisions that he has to make. And quite frankly, that is where it is. We talked about a lot of things, and a lot of it will remain confidential. In a nutshell, he is contemplating retirement and he does have decisions to make. He knows that he needs to make those decisions in a timely fashion.”

Coughlin made it clear that he does not want to see another distraction like Tiki Barber talking about retiring all last season. “I told him that I would not talk him into coming back and playing,” said Coughlin. “That he had to make the decision to come back with his heart in the right place. I told him that our attitude here has been very good. We certainly don’t want to spend an entire year again talking about retirement. His message to me was a good, solid message about where he was. We had a good conversation, but there really is nothing resolved. There was no statement about when he would be able to come in, if he was going to come in, or if he wasn’t. No timetable has been set…I did not ask him about the timing. As a matter of fact, he apologized to me for the timing.”

“We don’t want to go through that again all year with constant questions about someone’s retirement,” said Coughlin. “We do have 86 guys out here right now, who are playing hard and have a good attitude, and that is where the focus should be. The focus should be on our team. Michael knows that.”

“I talked to Michael (Monday) night,” said Reese. “We had a really good conversation. He had some things he needed to talk to me about. I had some things that I needed to talk to him about. I won’t share any personal information that we shared with each other. The bottom line is that he is still contemplating retirement. I told him, ‘Michael, we will move forward as if you are not going to be here. You haven’t made a commitment that you are going to come.’ It is still a possibility that he could be here. We talked about a lot of things. That is basically what I want to share with you guys. We had some personal things we talked about, and I don’t want to share that… at least there is some communication now. I think that is good.”

“I don’t have any hard feelings toward Michael,” said Reese. “And he doesn’t have any hard feelings towards me. And again, he had some things that he wanted to talk about, and I had some things that I wanted to talk about. We had a really good conversation; he is still pondering whether he wants to come back or not. Again, I told him, ‘We will move forward as if you are not coming back.’ I said we can’t sit on our hands, and he said that he respects that.”

“I told him that we would love for him to be here, but only if he wants to be here 100 % and come back and be a great teammate like he has always been,” said Reese.

When Reese was asked if the Giants would talk contract with Strahan, Reese responded, “We are not going to talk about his contract.”

Reese also indicated that Strahan will continue to be fined $14,288 per day for be absent without leave. The New York Post is reporting that if Strahan retires, the Giants can and likely will attempt to recoup nearly $2 million of his $6.5 million bonus, as the Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates a player who voluntarily retires is liable to lose “a proportionate forfeiture of signing bonus.”

“We will look at all of our options as far as money goes,” said Reese.

Meanwhile, both Coughlin and Reese talked to DE Osi Umenyiora regarding Umenyiora’s mini-outburst to the press yesterday that he would not play left defensive end if DE Simeon Rice were signed. “(Moving Umenyiora) was never even fathomed,” said Coughlin. “There was no discussion about any of that. Osi is a rising young player, he plays right end.”

“Players try to protect players,” said Reese. “I don’t think Osi meant that in a malicious way towards the New York Giants and any disrespect. Osi is being a good little brother, and trying to protect Michael Strahan, one of his mentors in the NFL. That has been addressed with Osi, and I don’t think that is a big deal at all.”

Rice is still scheduled to undergo a physical examination by the Giants’ doctors today. Rice, who is coming off a serious shoulder injury, claims that he passed a physical last weekend in Florida. The Titans and Redskins are reportedly also interested in Rice.

Editorial on DE Michael Strahan: Quit Thinking & Just Quit Already by Gary Myers of The New York Daily News

Notes and Quotes: William Joseph on the biggest difference between playing defensive tackle and defensive end: “The biggest difference between end and tackle is that there is a lot of stuff you have to learn outside. You drop (off the line) a lot at end, you have to learn coverages, who to cover.”

FB Robert Douglas on comparing the fullback and tight end positions in the Giants’ offense: “The positions are interchangeable. Sometimes I can be on the line, sometimes I’m in the backfield. Same with the tight ends.”

With wide receivers Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer being limited to one practice per day due to injuries, wide receivers Sinorice Moss and Steve Smith are receiving a lot of quality reps at practice. “They get to work outside some days and when Plax and Amani come back, they get to work in the slot,” said QB Eli Manning. “They’re getting to work all the spots. That’s important. They’re getting to learn it by doing it, not by watching somebody else do it. It’s good experience.”