ELI MANNING, GIANTS SPEAK OUT AGAINST NEW ORLEANS SAINTS' BOUNTY PROGRAM

"Eli Manning sits in team meetings and listens to Giants coach Tom Coughlin telling the
defense they need to hit the opposing quarterback, all the while realizing the
coach of the team they’re about to play is saying the same thing about him.



“But when you start talking about injuring guys, carting them off and trying
to possibly end a season or end a career, that’s not what this game is about,”
Manning said last night during an appearance in Times Square. “I think we have
more respect for the game than that and it can’t be a part of football.”




Well, it’s a big part of the game these days, now that the NFL has determined
the New Orleans Saints and their former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams ran
a “bounty” program in which players were paid to deliver big hits on opposing
offenses.




Here five Giants players were tonight at Regal Cinemas to premiere the new
Super Bowl XLVI DVD from NFL Films and Vivendi Entertainment, yet the biggest
topic of conversation was the Saints’ scandal and what effect it has on the rest
of the league.




One of the players on the receiving end of a big hit from a Saints defender —
Hakeem Nicks, who was hammered by safety Isa Abdul-Quddus last November —
weighed in.




“I really have no feelings. I just know that’s something we don’t do,” the
Giants’ wide receiver said. “It’s a respect for the game you have. If you look
at the reality of it, we’re all a part of this game together. So I think guys
just have their own motives.




“But we play New York Giant football, which I believe is fair football.”




Asked if he believes Abdul-Quddus hit him with a bounty in mind, Nicks
replied, “Uh, the way he was celebrating, you would probably think that. But I
came back in the game. It was just a hit.”




Suddenly, every big hit from a Saint these past few seasons has observers
questioning the player’s motives, even the ones during their Super Bowl season
of 2009. The Giants faced them that year and again this past season, so they’ve
had a first-hand look at their physical style of play.




“It’s not good character,” said safety Antrel Rolle, who’s delivered plenty
of big hits in his career, including one on then-Giant Kevin Boss in 2009 that
drew a fine. “This is a very physical sport as it is. You never want to go out
there with the intent to actually injure an opponent. That’s people’s
livelihoods. There’s no price you can put on the health of another opponent.
That’s just the way I look at it.”




Jason Pierre-Paul said he and the other defensive linemen hand out bonuses
for sacks, which would be a violation of the salary cap if they came from the
team. But Pierre-Paul drew a line between such a system and the one the Saints
were running.




“It’s different,” he said. “We don’t try to intentionally hurt
quarterbacks.”




Which is how Manning says it should be.




“Obviously, it is a big deal what’s going on,” he said. “It is not good for
football and can’t be a part of football. I know Roger Goodell will do a good
job of figuring all this out and making sure this doesn’t happen again.”




WR Mario Manningham said there’s been no progress on contract talks and he
still expects to hit the market at the start of free agency. Given the Giants’
being over the salary cap, it’s likely Manningham will sign with another
team."