Shockey leaves former 'Canes to join current Giants

Updated: April 26, 2005, 6:19 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Tight end Jeremy Shockey, absent so far from offseason workouts and the subject of recent entreaties from coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning was en route to New York on Tuesday evening to join Giants teammates for the conditioning program.

Shockey has spent much of the offseason to this point in Miami, working out with former college teammates and other league players, and suggesting his regimen there is perhaps even more challenging than the team's program. As he traveled to the airport Tuesday, Shockey reiterated that his boycott of the voluntary workouts were meant neither as an affront to Coughlin or his teammates.

Instead, he said, the workouts remain, he believes, the best way to challenge himself and prepare for the rigors of the season. There is, both Shockey and agent Drew Rosenahaus maintained, no hidden agenda.

"There is no mystery," said Shockey, the team's first-round pick in the 2002 draft. "It's just the way that I believe is best for me to get ready. This is about me helping me which, in turn, helps the team. It's just a personal preference. If anybody saw me, they'd know what I've been putting myself through."

In the next day or so, Giants coaches and players will apparently be able to see for themselves the results of Shockey's offseason endeavors. They won't have to just take his word for the kind of shape into which he has whipped himself after a spate of injuries that have affected his production.

How long Shockey participates in the formal program, where attendance is voluntary but where just about everyone else shows up, is uncertain. But Rosenhaus said his client feels it is time to start conforming and, as well, to end widespread confusion about his absence.

Staying away from the Giants program is not, Rosenhaus said, a ploy aimed at landing a new contract.

"Have we discussed his contract situation with the Giants?' said Rosenhaus. "Of course, we have. But there have been no negotiations. Nothing is imminent. Jeremy just feels like working down here (in Miami) is the best thing for him. And, believe me, if you ever saw the way these guys work and push each other, you'd never doubt his resolve. It's not as if he's in hiding. It isn't like he's out of contact with the Giants people."

Indeed, even Coughlin noted recently that he and Shockey speak weekly.

Two weeks ago, Manning phoned Shockey to seek to have him join the program, so that the two could work out together and develop an enhanced sense for each other. When news of Manning's call went public, Shockey was not pleased, but the players have since spoken and smoothed things over.

But Coughlin, who has been about as tolerant concerning Shockey's absence as he has been with just about anything in his NFL coaching career, suggested strongly over the weekend that it might be time for the tight end to report for the workouts.

"I feel very much that he'll be here at some point in time, hopefully sooner," Coughlin told the New York media.

And so, sooner it will be, now that Shockey is headed to New York.

"Hopefully," Rosenhaus said, "this will put an end to a non-story."

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.