Kadarius Toney will get a “clean slate” heading into his second NFL season, according to rookie New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll.
Toney had an odd rookie season after being selected No. 20 overall by then-GM Dave Gettleman in the 2021 NFL Draft. He missed almost the entire spring and summer due to injuries, COVID-19 and other assorted issues.
Toney missed time twice with COVID-19. Toney had hamstring, quad, shoulder and thumb injuries and played in only 10 of 17 games. He also had a couple of social media missteps, most notably surrounding his support for Henry Ruggs after the former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver was involved in a fatal car crash. Ruggs is still awaiting trial.
There were maturity concerns about Toney coming out of college. The previous Giants coaching staff spoke shortly after he was drafted about the need for Toney to learn how to be a pro and to gain the trust of his teammates and coaches. Tellingly, they were still saying the same things at the end of the 2021 season.
Toney also flashed tremendous potential, most notably in a 10-catch, 189-yard performance against the Dallas Cowboys. Still, he finished the season with just 39 receptions for 420 yards (10.8 yards per catch).
With Daboll and new GM Joe Schoen now running the show, the question of whether the Giants would consider trading Toney was raised during Tuesday’s media availability.
“I don’t think Kadarius is a tradeable piece,” Schoen said. “If somebody calls we’re going to listen, but he’s a good young player that our coaches really like. We’ve been in constant contact with him and we’re excited to see what he can do.”
Daboll said that Toney is “a fun guy to watch” who “made some wild plays” while at Florida.
Daboll said he isn’t bothered by Toney’s rap career, pointing out that Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley also has a secondary career in music.
“As long as they’re dedicated to coming in the building, working hard, being the best version of themselves, learning what we need to do, be a pro,” Daboll said. “I think it’s important to show confidence in your players and respect what they do. They’re grown men and grown women that I work with.”
Daboll said he has only met Toney via FaceTime, and joked that Toney has sent him some of his music.
“I think you get to know people first. When you take over a new job, and I hope that would be the case for any of us, you get a clean slate,” Daboll said.
“You’re working with different people. I’ve got a lot of respect for the people that I work with and the situation that I’m in right now. Everybody’s different, but we’re all starting from scratch here. We’re going to do this thing together. There will be certain expectations for the people in our building. One, being a pro.
“Give me a thousand different definitions of what it means to be a pro. Being on time, working hard, all the things we talk about. All these players and all the new coaches, including myself, it’s a clean slate. We’ve got a lot to work on. It’s a day-by-day process. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re going to be committed to the cause, to doing the best we can.”