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New York Giants fine Odell Beckham Jr. for comments on team’s heart


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants have fined wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for comments he made last week questioning the team’s heart, according to a report by Fox Sports.

Speaking to ESPN’s Josina Anderson last week, the Pro Bowl wide receiver said the 1-4 Giants lacked passion.

“A lot of it has to do with the energy that we don’t have, that we don’t bring every single day,” he said in an interview that aired Sunday. “And you know me. I’m a passionate, energetic person. I always have to have that. If I don’t, it’s gonna be a problem for me. And just playing with some heart. We just need to play with some heart.”

Beckham also said in the interview, conducted alongside rapper Lil Wayne, that the Giants needed to throw the ball downfield more often.

When asked if quarterback Eli Manning was the problem, Beckham said, “Uhh, I don’t know. I feel like … He’s not going to get out of the pocket. We know Eli’s not going to run it. Can he still throw it? Yeah. It’s cool catching it shallow and trying to take it, but I want to go over the top of somebody.”

Coach Pat Shurmur expressed his public disapproval of Beckham’s actions over the weekend.

“All right, listen, I’m going to answer all the drama questions right now and I’m going to go back to what I said. I addressed it with Odell. I addressed it with our team,” Shurmur said in an animated tone after Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. “I publicly declared that I didn’t agree with his comments and I asked anybody that was interested if they wanted clarification [to] go to Odell because he’s a big man.

“Now, I’m not going to give the public a pound of flesh on this, all right. … These are the kind of things, in my opinion, when we have the locker room that we have that will help galvanize them because the locker room took care of it, and that is all I’m saying on it. Finito. Done.”

Beckham didn’t apologize or take back his comments, and said he thought it had a positive effect on the team.

“I don’t regret anything,” he said. “I don’t regret anything that I said. If it took that for us to come together as a team like we did [Sunday]. I can take that every single time.”

Manning brushed off the comments, saying he and Beckham “have a great relationship.”

Beckham led the Giants with 39 catches for 462 yards and a touchdown entering Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

But his frustration was visible in that game. With two seconds left in the first half and the Giants trailing 24-6, Beckham was seen walking off the field and into the locker room before the final play. He did not return until after the opening kickoff of the second half.

They ran one final play before halftime with their offense on the field. Beckham was nowhere to be seen.

Beckham also left early two weeks earlier in a loss to the Saints to receive an IV.

Beckham had two catches on four targets for 12 yards in the first half, when the Giants were a discombobulated mess. Manning was 10-of-23 passing for 163 yards with an interception as they managed only two field goals in the opening 30 minutes.

Shurmur was even caught on camera in the second quarter appearing to say, “Throw the ball!” after Manning dumped a second-and-long pass to Cody Latimer in the flat. He then dumped a third-and-long pass well short of the first-down marker before the Giants punted.



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Pat Shurmur says New York Giants’ struggles due to execution, not lack of heart


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur sees a locker room with a “ton of heart” and believes the team’s offensive struggles have more to do with execution that anything else.

Shurmur’s comments came after star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he thought some Giants didn’t bring enough energy every single day. Beckham, who signed a $95 million deal that made him the league’s highest-paid wide receiver this summer, also mentioned the team’s heart being part of their current struggles.

“I do know this, our team has a heck of a lot of heart. Our team plays with a lot of energy,” Shurmur said Friday when asked about Beckham’s assessment. “What we haven’t done is we haven’t really executed quite as well as we need to yet. That is really … instead of energy, it’s more execution. And I think that is what we’re all striving for.”

The Giants, with all their shiny tools and weapons, have failed to score 20 points in three of four games this season. Quarterback Eli Manning is 3-of-12 on passes of 20 yards or more downfield.

They have now gone 37 consecutive games dating to 2015 without scoring 30 points. It has them all searching desperately for answers.

The Giants (1-3) play the Carolina Panthers (2-1) on Sunday in Charlotte.

Beckham is popular and respected teammates brushed off his comments. Some even viewed them as a positive.

“I have no issue with someone trying to hold teammates accountable,” special-teams captain Michael Thomas told the New York Daily News. “Everybody has energy but we’re not executing as well as we need to. You can always use energy, always use more heart and all that stuff, and that’s good in that sense, but you have to execute at the end of the day. And when we do that, everything else will work itself out.”

Shurmur said he talks to his players all the time. He mentioned speaking with Beckham on Friday morning, but wouldn’t disclose whether they talked specifically about his recent comments.

Shurmur seemed perplexed when asked if any discipline would stem from this incident.

“For what?” Shurmur said.

Beckham has 31 catches for 331 yards in four games this season. But he hasn’t reached the end zone, hasn’t caught a pass over 20 yards since Week 2 and was clearly frustrated throughout Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints.

In the interview with Anderson earlier this week, Beckham was asked what was at the heart of the team’s issues. He started by mentioning energy, and that they don’t bring it every day.

“Playing with some heart. We just need to play with some heart,” he said.

Beckham later added: “How come we can’t throw the ball for more than 20 yards? How come we don’t attempt or try to throw the ball for 20 yards? These are the questions we have to figure out.

“But for now it’s our heart, energy, what we bring when we line up before the game. All that, it counts.”



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Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano died of arteriosclerotic heart disease


MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano died Sunday from arteriosclerotic heart disease, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner. He was 56 years old.

According to reporting by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Sparano went to a hospital last Thursday after complaining about chest pains and was released Friday after undergoing tests. A source said Sparano’s wife, Jeanette, found him unconscious Sunday morning as the two were on their way to church and could not revive him.

The 19-year NFL veteran coach died at 8:54 a.m. at his home in Eden Prairie.

An assistant with Minnesota for the past two seasons, Sparano worked for nine NFL teams over 19 seasons, with head-coaching stints in Miami (2008-11) and on an interim basis with Oakland (2014). He held positions with Cleveland, Washington, Jacksonville, Dallas, San Francisco and the New York Jets.

Vikings rookies report to training camp on Tuesday.



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Janoris Jenkins of New York Giants — Friend’s death ‘hurts my heart’


New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins posted a statement on Instagram on Thursday expressing “regret and sadness” for the death of his close friend Roosevelt Rene at his Fair Lawn, New Jersey, home last month.





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Michigan Wolverines defensive tackle Maurice Hurst diagnosed with heart condition at NFL combine


Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, projected as a potential first-round pick, was diagnosed with a heart condition Saturday at the NFL combine, league sources told ESPN.

Hurst will not work out with the other defensive linemen at the combine and will undergo further testing this week, per sources.

Hurst is still trying to determine the severity of the diagnosis. He is expected to be called back to Indianapolis for the second medical check before the combine for players with medical red flags, per sources.

This is not the first instance in which a college standout has been diagnosed with a heart condition.

In 2013, an echocardiogram detected a heart condition in Utah’s defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. A medical recheck showed there was no dysfunction, and Lotulelei was eventually drafted in the first round to the Carolina Panthers.



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