You want NFL Lockout talk? You can find plenty of it over at SB Nation New York, including New York Giants center Shaun O'Hara talking about the near-certainty that no agreement will be reached by Thursday night.
We will spend months, I think, talking about labor stuff and figuring out what to do without real football stuff to talk about. So, I am postponing that discussion just a little. Today, there are a couple of football notes to talk about.
One regards Giants' wide receiver Steve Smith, who spoke to the New York Post about his desire for a new contract with the Giants and the status of his surgically repaired knee.
"I know it's different now, I know it will be a little more difficult now depending on how I come back from this injury, how I look," Smith said. "I think the Giants are going to reward me with a contract this year. They told me that."
As for the condition of his knee, here is what Smith told the Post:
"The doctors are saying I'm on point with everything, so it's good," Smith said. "It's a very vanilla, very boring rehab. I can't go run, I can't go play basketball or do the things that everybody else can do. I got to stay off my feet. We ice, we do heat, we do massage, I'm doing some stuff with the bike, some leg curls, some different things to strengthen my leg. I've come a looooong way, and I still have a long way to go."
Smith is important to the Giants. He may never lead them in receptions again, or make the flashy plays Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham make. What he does, though, is make the important catches that keep drives alive -- the plays that help Eli Manning not have to force balls to receivers he isn't sure about and allow other guys more opportunities to make those game-altering plays. Let's hope get gets healthy and that, whenever there is football, Smith is playing it for the Giants.
The other note involves O'Hara. MIke touched on this earlier today, but I want to talk more about O'Hara's comments regarding his football future. The 34-year-old center will soon face a pair of surgeries, one on his injured achilles tendon and the other on his ankle. The two injuries that limited him to a handful of games in 2010, and made him ineffective much of the time he was on the field.
O'Hara saw what coach Tom Coughlin said during the NFL Scouting Combine about the team's need at center.
“If we do have OTAs and mini camps, right now with Adam Koets (knee) and Rich (Seubert, knee) and myself, the only center we have that can snap is (strength coach) Jerry Palmieri,” O’Hara said. “I understand the situation. But I think they’re aware I’ll be ready to go for training camp. I plan on being healthy and back to my usual self.
“My intention is to come back and pick up where I left off the year before,” he said. “For me it’s just ‘Get healthy’. I know I’m in my prime. The last two years I’ve been playing best football, so I know for me it’s just a matter of getting healthy.”
Is O'Hara kidding himself? Obviously, the Giants are not going to draft a center just to have a guy to snap during mini-camps. If they draft a center it is because they are seriously concerned about the long-term health and effectiveness of both O'Hara and Seubert, which they rightly should be, and need to plan as though they will be without the two veterans.
A healthy O'Hara is a darn good football player, and I think we all would agree the best-case scenario for the Giants would be for him to regain his health and return to form. Just because he wants to, though, doesn't mean he can. Or will.