Shaun O'Hara: Ruling doesn't hurt
BEDMINSTER, N.J. -- For at least one day during the NFL lockout, Shaun O'Hara was surrounded on Wednesday by several of his New York Giants teammates and not just his fellow offensive linemen that he has been training with during the offseason.
Quarterback Eli Manning, guard Chris Snee, defensive tackles Barry Cofield and Chris Canty, linebackers Jonathan Goff and Zak DeOssie, cornerback Terrell Thomas and kicker Lawrence Tynes were among the Giants who played golf in the third annual Shaun O'Hara Foundation golf outing to benefit awareness of cystic fibrosis.
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With players locked out of team facilities during the work stoppage, most offensive and defensive players have worked out on their own or trained with teammates on the same side of the ball. And with the lockout in place after the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling on the stay on Monday, it might be a while before the Giants offensive and defensive players are all mingling together again.
There is a June 3 hearing scheduled in a federal appeals court pertaining to a lower court's ruling that temporarily lifted the lockout. In the meantime, players remain on their own.
"I don't think it hurt the players," O'Hara, the Giants' Players Association representative, said about the lockout remaining in effect at his charity event held at Trump National Golf Club. "We would have welcomed the opportunity to go back and train at our facilities and we would have liked to have really gotten together as a team and been able to do some things to get ready for the season."
"Hopefully June 3rd, we will hear some good news."
O'Hara said that the positive is that players can stick with their training routines and not suffer any potential interruptions. Last month, the lockout was temporarily lifted and players were briefly allowed to return to team facilities. Canty actually worked out at the Giants' gym before the lockout was back in effect.
"It is one of those things that is frustrating because you would like the opportunity to prepare, to get into the facility with your teammates and prove your football team," Canty said. "Guys have to do the best they can right now and wait."
Manning has been conducting passing drills with a few of his offensive teammates at Hoboken High School (N.J.) for the last three weeks.
A handful of receivers, tight ends and running backs have joined Manning at one point or another. Offensive lineman David Diehl even came out and ran a few routes at one point. But for the most part, many players have trained on their own, some hoping to avoid the risk of suffering an injury that will not be covered by teams during the lockout.
"A lot more injuries can happen with us," Thomas said of the idea of the defense holding workouts similar to Manning's. "We need an offense to really go against to work on our timing. Defensive guys can work on their craft by themselves. It won't be the same as Justin Tuck versus David Diehl or me versus Steve Smith but you can still work on your back-pedal and press technique."
"With the insurance that we have, it doesn't cover us (for injury) until we come back to the Giants," the cornerback added. "For me, a veteran guy, I am just trying to stay in shape and honestly benefiting from healthy legs and not doing all that running during OTAs and minicamp."
Thomas has been training in Los Angeles but was in town for O'Hara's charity golf outing, which felt a little bit like a reunion since some of the players hadn't seen each other in some time.
Jets center Nick Mangold also joined the Giants for O'Hara's foundation, which has raised over $100,000 per year over the last couple of years.
"As intense a rivalry has become between the Jets and the Giants, it is still good to help out a fellow center," Mangold said. "Shaun does great work and puts a lot of effort and I am just glad I can help out."
The Jets and Giants are scheduled to face on Christmas Eve.
O'Hara believes that game and the entire season will be played and that the owners and players will reach an accord soon.
"It is something that is doable," O'Hara said. "There is no reason for us to not have something in place before training camp. That would be a travesty for everybody involved. As we get closer to that, I think everybody understands that and they will realize a sense of urgency.
"We don't have a choice. We owe it to our fans, we owe it to the NFL to get it done. Baseball is America's favorite pastime. But there is nothing more American than NFL football."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.
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