With OTAs under way and his annual charity softball game in New Jersey approaching, it was inevitable that former New York Giants safety Landon Collins would be speaking to the media. And likewise it was inevitable that he would be asked about his departure from the Giants, as well as his thoughts regarding general manager Dave Gettleman.
And speaking to ESPN, those were exactly the topics which came up.
Collins told ESPN that he believes that Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon, Odell Beckham Jr. and himself are no longer Giants because they became too vocal in their concerns about the team.
“I know with myself, [Harrison], Odell, [Vernon], all we wanted to do was win, and we spoke up because we had to get them to listen to us,” Collins said. “We had to get them to get us winning pieces to help us at least be contenders.
I think we were too vocal, and that platform was bigger than the Giants, you know, and our words stood out more. And ... if it’s not good media, they don’t want that kind of media.”
But while Collins reportedly spoke “glowingly” about John Mara, he said that the Giants’ general manager doesn’t seem to have much interest in communicating with his players as men, saying that Gettleman “never even talked to me, basically.”
“I wish he’d say something. Try to,” Collins added. “I mean, he had come around, shake your hand, say ‘Good job, big fella,’ or something like that. But honestly, talking to him, or saying anything, having a full conversation or anything with him, nothing.
I mean, he basically ... I don’t know him, he don’t know me, that’s kind of how it just kind of was.”
From there, Collins was critical of Gettleman’s decision to part with some of the Giants’ most talented players.
“You got the best run-stopper in the game, he went to the Lions and showed his tail off,” Collins said of Harrison.
And speaking of Odell Beckham Jr, who was traded to the Cleveland Browns along with Olivier Vernon, Collins said, “You got OBJ, the best receiver in the game, and you get rid of him because you think he’s ... a locker room problem?”
Collins whole-heartedly disagrees with the notion that Beckham was a locker room problem.
“And, knowing him personally,” Collins said, “knowing him, how he was as a person and as a brother to me, and a brother to everyone in the locker room, he made sure everybody in the locker room was smiling ... and he went out there to work, each and every day. He didn’t say nothing when he came to play in a football game. He didn’t say nothing when he came to practice. All he wanted to do was win.”
Collins’ comments regarding Gettleman’s relationship with players echo those made by former Carolina Panthers DeAngelo Williams and Jon Beason.
In a 2017 interview with CBS Sports, Beason said this:
“The way that the trade went down between the Giants and the Panthers when I moved on from the Carolina Panthers, it was done in a way that wasn’t classy. I didn’t want to be the disgruntled player who’s saying this, saying that because he was traded. But at the end of the day, you’re a first-round pick, you played extremely well for an organization, you’re one of the key guys on the team, a new GM comes in and doesn’t even give you a handshake on your way out the door.”
For his part, Williams issued a warning to the Giants’ veterans when Gettleman was hired, saying:
“For the vet players that are there now, be very cautious. Once he gets his guys in there, then he develops that relationship with them, and not developing a relationship with the guys that are already there because he doesn’t know them.”
“When you’re down in that locker room you are family ... If I’m friends with you or I’m a family member of yours, when I call you into the office to release you, I handle it in a family member type way,” Williams added. “Like, ‘Hey, we really appreciate everything you’ve done for this organization, really loved everything you’re doing,’ it’s more like breaking up with your girlfriend, ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’ Whatever excuses you give.
When you come into an office somebody handling business, ‘Hey man, you’re gone.’ Like, wait, what? ... Nine years. I been here for nine years, I played through injuries ... I give everything you possibly can for an organization and the way they let you go is ‘Hey man, you’re out of here.’ They let Steve (Smith) go through a text message.”
For his part, Gettleman made his feelings clear regarding players’ critiques of him when he was introduced as the Giants’ general manager.
“But, really and truly before that [salary cap concerns], it’s what players don’t want to hear. They don’t want to hear the value you put on them because it hurts their feelings. They’re sad.”