O'Hara criticizes Burress for not practicing Print
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Thursday, 12 June 2008 12:05
NFL Headline News

 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Less than four months after winning the Super Bowl, center Shaun O'Hara isn't happy because he believes a couple of New York Giants are putting themselves ahead of the team.
O'Hara criticized receiver Plaxico Burress on Thursday for refusing to practice until he gets a new contract and reminded teammates that the Giants won their third Super Bowl by sticking together as a team when things got tough last season.
``Either you are with us or you are against us,'' O'Hara said between practices. ``And I think the players are doing a good job of focusing in on their daily tasks and their jobs, and as long as we all continue to do that, this team will succeed.''
The opening two days of the Giants' first mandatory practices since beating the New England Patriots in February have been somewhat of a circus.
Injured tight end Jeremy Shockey, who expressed unhappiness with his role in the offseason, miffed coach Tom Coughlin by staying in the locker room with his sore ankle instead of coming out to the field to watch practice.
Burress then compounded things on Wednesday by demanding a new contract even through he has three years left on his old one. He does not intend to practice until he gets a new deal, and he hinted that he might be a training camp holdout next month.
``I think there is a right way to do things,'' O'Hara said when asked about Burress, who is due to make $10.5 million over the next three seasons. ``I have always felt that as a player, you go out there and put your best foot forward and, as a long as you are giving 100 percent effort every time, you'll be taken care of.''
There is no doubt that Burress, who has led the Giants in receiving in two of his three seasons here and caught the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of the Super Bowl, will be underpaid next season without a new contract.
Terrell Owens of Dallas and Randy Moss of New England each recently signed three-year contracts for roughly $27 million.
However, Burress' refusal to practice stole all the headlines Thursday.
``I guess my feeling is it is a disservice to all the other guys out there working hard, and doing their jobs to focus on the negative,'' O'Hara said in a comment that seemed to criticize both his teammate and the media. ``Sometimes we expect that, but there are a lot of guys out there doing good things every day. We have a lot of young guys getting a lot of good reps. That should be the focus.''
Coughlin has not talked to Burress since his refusal to practice, but he understands that this is the time that some players will try to get more money.
``Naturally I want everybody on the field,'' said Coughlin, who got a new four-year $21 million contract after the season. ``We anticipated the camp being the camp. We want everybody out here. The quarterback wants everybody out here. The quarterback wants to throw to people; he wants to work with people. That is what a minicamp is for.''
Shockey, who broke his leg late last season and is now bothered by an ankle, has not talked to the media since arriving at minicamp.
However, he has attended team meetings and been positive, teammates said.
``We understand that the NFL is a business and there is that other side of it, so Jeremy just has to do what is best for Jeremy,'' fellow tight end Darcy Johnson said. ``He feels that is his situation and everybody has their own situations and their own problems that they have to deal with.''
Defensive end Osi Umenyiora doesn't think either situation is a major distraction. He believes it will be handled when training camp opens in July.
``Whichever way it goes, I don't think there are going to be any distractions,'' Umenyiora said. ``The people who are practicing and the people who are playing, I don't think are really too focused on what is going on outside of the practice field, so I don't think it is really going to be that big of a deal.''
 

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