EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants players understand that a third straight losing season could mean the end of Tom Coughlin's time as coach of the team. Those who spoke to the press after Sunday's season-ending 35-30 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles all expressed support for the coach.
Here is some of what players were saying Sunday in a somber Giants' locker room:
Offensive lineman Justin Pugh:
"I love him. He's the one who drafted me and gave me a chance. Like I've been saying, he's a future Hall of Famer. I know one day I'm going to look back and say I played for Tom Coughlin and learned a lot of great things from him."
Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who is in his second stint with the Giants:
"He still has the same command when he walks in the room. He is still Coach Coughlin to me. He is going to get on you when he needs to get on you and he is going to let you know when you do things right, as well, so it has been a pleasure playing for him -- I love him as a coach and I love the way he motivates his teams."
Rashad Jennings on whether or not he wants Coughlin to return:
"Oh, 1000 times, yes. Are you kidding me? That is a guy that has so much command in the room, so much respect amongst his peers and us. We will fight for him, continue to follow him and there is no doubt in my mind that [he] is the man for the job.
"I say it all the time, my two years of playing under Coach Coughlin, one of the things that stuck out about him when he was speaking to us as a whole entire team, he said one thing and I wrote it down and it is kind of a staple of how I perceive him. He said that, "Faces may change, but expectations never will." He leads that way, he knows the secret recipe to success and there is no question that he is an outstanding coach, and I am definitely proud to play under him."
Prince Amukamara on trying to think about the possibility of Sunday having been Coughlin's last game:
"It's kind of hard to not think about it. I would say everyone in this organization tried real hard to not talk about it. It's funny, it was kind of like subliminal messages, like, "We know who we're playing this game for, and let's finish." And we didn't finish. I'm sure everyone feels like they let that person down. To answer your question, I would say everyone tried real hard to not talk about it."
Eli Manning on the potential end of Coughlin's career:
"Whether it is or not, he's been a great coach early on in my career, just teaching me the importance of preparation and making me draw up every single blitz that the team had done each and every weekâhow I protected, what my callouts would be, how to prepare for third down in the green zone and the game plan and practice and compete every day as a gift. So, he's been a great influence on me."
Center Weston Richburg on whether he would like to see Coughlin back for his 13th season:
"Of course. I think everybody in this room would. He's one of the best."
Mark Herzlich, who has been a Giant since 2011, on Coughlin:
"I haven't see too many people who have been in the game this long who have maintained this type of love for the game, this type of energy. He's an unbelievable teacher and leader ... I love the guy and I hope to be playing for him next year."