New York Giants coach Brian Daboll said Tuesday that he was “disappointed” for safety Xavier McKinney, out for at least the next several weeks after suffering a hand injury in a bye week Can-Am accident.
Daboll, though, did not say he was disappointed in the third-year safety, defensive captain, and signal caller.
“Feel bad for Xavier. Disappointed that he got injured,” Daboll said. “I feel bad for him. Feel bad for us. I know he’s disappointed, but can’t do anything about that.”
The 23-year-old posted Monday on social media that he had been injured while riding an ATV during a guided tour in Cabo during the Giants’ bye week. He clarified on Tuesday that it was a Can-Am and not an ATV.
McKinney was non-committal on Tuesday about whether he would be able to play again this season.
“No timeline on it,” he said.
McKinney, wearing an odd-looking cast or splint over his left said that it was a “freak accident” and that he had injured “a couple” of fingers and undergone surgery when he returned to the United States. He was vague about the circumstances and whether he was driving the vehicle or riding in it, saying only that it was a “sightseeing tour” and that the vehicle “tilted over” and that either he or something “fell on my hand.”
McKinney said the accident, which happened last Wednesday, “was nothing that was reckless.”
“It was just an unfortunate event that happened,” McKinney said. “I thank God that it wasn’t anything worse.”
McKinney said this was his first trip outside the U.S. other than the team’s game in London a few weeks ago.
McKinney said “it hurts a lot” not to be available for his team.
Every NFL coach sends their players away during bye weeks or breaks between mandatory mini-camp and training camp with a reminder to be safe, to not put themselves at risk or do anything that could jeopardize their health or the success of the team.
Daboll was asked a number of ways on Tuesday if he was upset that player had violated his contract, which reportedly had an ATV provision in it, and ended up sidelining himself.
He stuck to his script.
“I think we’re all disappointed in what happened,” Daboll said. “He’ll do everything you can do to get back. Feel bad for him. I feel bad for us. Unfortunate thing that happened.”
Daboll tiptoed around what he said to McKinney after learning about the injury and whether or not there would be any discipline.
“It’s all a private matter. Again, I feel bad for us. I feel bad for him. Certainly not something you want to see,” Daboll said. “I feel bad for the kid in particular. I mean, he got injured. And I feel bad for us. We lost a good player for a few weeks.”
McKinney said he wasn’t aware that ATV usage was a violation of his contract. He did say, though, that he “wouldn’t be upset” if the organization withheld pay while he was on the non-football injury list, which is something the Giants could do.
“I take full responsibility,” McKinney said. “I’m an accountable person. I was just upset knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to be here for my team.”
If you are disappointed in McKinney, though, no one could blame you.
The Giants are having a feel-good season, off to a 6-2 start no one saw coming. McKinney is one of the team’s best players. He is a team captain. He was calling defensive signals for coordinator Wink Martindale, a responsibility that will now fall to Julian Love. He is the only defender to have played each of the team’s 506 defensive snaps this season.
Now, because of something completely avoidable, he will not be available to the Giants for at least the next four weeks and perhaps longer. Players, of course, are young men with money and they have a right to relax away from the game. Still, it’s OK to expect better from a team leader and cornerstone of the future.
The Giants can spin it and talk about opportunities for and faith in Dane Belton, Jason Pinnock, Landon Collins, and maybe even Tony Jefferson if he is healthy enough to return from IR soon. None of those players, though, can do what McKinney is capable of.
So, yes, it’s OK to be disappointed in a key player who made a selfish mistake.