Two years ago, Tiki Barber said goodbye. Then last season was Michael Strahan’s swansong. Now it looks like Amani Toomer will bid ado to the New York Giants.
The 34 year-old soon to be free agent was critical of big Blue as he spoke to the media in Tampa. Speaking from the heart, Toomer said he felt the Giants were pushing him out this season.
“I think it was going all right,” Toomer said. “They tried to do it earlier in the season, but I kept playing well and keeping myself in the mix, so to speak, and then all of a sudden they didn’t let me play myself out. They pulled the rug out from under me. I was fighting it for as long as I could. I kept making big plays and I felt like, if they kept throwing to me, I’d keep making big plays.
“So I feel like they made a decision that, ‘We can’t keep him sticking around. We’ve got to turn the page. We can’t just keep letting this go on and on.'”
Toomer is the all-time leading Giants receiver, catching 668 balls for 9,497 years with 54 touchdowns over the past 13 seasons. He moved from being a playmaking receiver earlier in his career to one of the more reliable possession catchers in the game, as Plaxico Burress became the Giants No. 1 option.
But when Burress was injured and then suspended, Toomer saw his time getting cut.
“I just think the last couple of games I wasn’t a big part of the offense and we lost a big percentage of the games [four of the last five],” he said. “I feel like you can’t tell me (that) didn’t play a big role in it. I think it did. The first game [without Burress] I had one of my best games of the year. From that game on, I don’t know what happened.”
Ultimately, Toomer ended up the season with 48 catches for 580 years, but only had 11 for 126 in the last five games of the season, including the playoff loss to the Eagles. Because of what he perceives as writing on the wall, the receiver will test the market.
“I’ve never been a free agent,” Toomer said. “I’m just going around, shopping yourself and basically seeing what the league thinks of you. I’m pretty excited, I got some good responses so far, so I’m pretty excited to see how it’s going to turn out.”
Although he hasn’t ruled out a return to the Giants, Toomer is looking forward. And if he moves on, there will be a bitter taste in his mouth of what he thought was complacency on the Giants in 2008.
“I just think the way in which we approached some of these games, I questioned it going in. I didn’t say anything because I wanted to try to make it work out,” he said. “But in the end, ultimately my suspicions came true. And at the end of the (playoff loss to the Eagles), after the other game (the regular-season loss to Philly), I wasn’t surprised at all. I felt like our approach wasn’t the same as it was last year.”