Kadarius Toney didn’t know it was coming. Thursday, though, the second-year wide receiver who raps under the name Yung Joka, heard his own music blaring from the Quest Diagnostics Training Center speakers during practice.
“I think that’s pretty great; I’m not going to lie,” Toney said on Friday. “It kinda surprised me, kinda had me juiced up, it kinda had me juiced up. I was like OK, O, OK. I appreciate him for doing it. It just showed me the willingness to build a relationship with me.”
During his rookie season, there seemed to be a constant stream of things getting in the way of Toney simply practicing and playing football. He missed OTAs this year because of minor knee surgery, but has been a full participant in training camp all three days.
He is practicing fully, making plays like the spectacular one-handed catch me made on Wednesday, and seems to be enjoying himself. He is smiling a lot, seems to be popular with fans attending the practices, and celebrated with teammates — and head coach Brian Daboll on Wednesday after his catch.
“The whole team was down there. It was great camaraderie,” Toney said.
Even Daboll had sprinted down to join in the fun.
“He told me was tired after that,” Toney said.
The previous coaching staff often questioned Toney’s maturity and kept alive the idea that the 2021 first-round pick was struggling to earn their trust. Toney talked on Friday about not only building a relationship with Daboll and GM Joe Schoen, but furthering his relationship with his teammates.
“I really feel like that’s important with anybody, not just me - throughout the whole team,” Toney said. “I try to have a better relationship with Daniel. I try to have a better relationship with Kenny (Golladay). Everybody around because it’s a team thing, not an individual thing.”
Toney flashed immense play-making ability last season, such as his 10-catch, 189-yard game against the Dallas Cowboys. Injuries, though, were a constant issue as he played in only 10 games and never seemed to practice with any regularity.
The 23-year-old said Friday that “I’m just ready to show what I can do.”
“I feel like I’m more confident, it’s just all about experience,” Toney said. “Last year, I was just a rookie coming in kind of young and getting to learn everything. This year, second year, so I had experience on the field, had my ups and downs and I’m just here to be who I am.”
Who he is is an exciting young player capable of doing a lot to help the Giants. He says he is “focused on ball right now.” If he can stay that way, and stay healthy, perhaps his second NFL season will be far more satisfying than his first.