Kadarius Toney’s introduction into the NFL certainly hasn’t been the smoothest. A positive COVID-19 test this past week was simply the latest in what has been frankly an odd start to the wideout’s New York Giants tenure.
From going through drills in minicamp barefoot due to a cleat issue, to an apparent minor foot injury, skipping OTAs over his contract and clapping back at fans over his rap career, the first-round pick has quickly become a lightning rod for debate in East Rutherford. So much so that Joe Judge was posed with the question this weekend of whether Toney has become a distraction for the Giants — a notion that the head coach quickly shut down.
“This guy loves football and he goes hard when he’s practicing. He plays hard,” Judge said of Toney, via the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard. “There’s a lot of guys who are talented and they have some other things outside the building that distract them when they get in the building. We haven’t seen that with him.”
“This guy does a tremendous job in meetings,” Judge added. “He does a great job in walkthroughs. He practices hard. So that to me is really the measuring stick of what it is. And I think there are a lot of things early in this guy’s career that are to be honest with you being overinflated. It hasn’t detracted from the actual football when he’s involved with us.”
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Toney Back With Team; Blake Martinez Placed on COVID List
Per Leonard, Toney was “asymptomatic last week” and the Florida product has since been activated from Reserve/COVID-19 list. Yet, as one player returns, two others exit. The team announced on Tuesday that linebacker Blake Martinez and Safety Joshua Kalu have been placed on the list.
Martinez, the team’s defensive captain, led the team in tackles in 2020 with 151. Since 2017, no player in football has accumulated more tackles than Martinez’s 594. Kalu, who signed with the Giants earlier this offseason, spent the past three seasons carving out a career on special teams with the Tennessee Titans.
Giants Taking it Slow With Toney
Just because Toney has arrived at Quest Diagnostics Training Center for the start of training camp doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to see No. 89 in action out the gate.
“(Toney is) with us today in the building, so he’s back with us… We’re not going to go ahead and rush anything to get in the process,” Judge told reporters. “He’ll be in the meetings with all our players. He’ll be able to go out there and operate in some of the – some of the meetings we get a little bit more on our feet.”
“But in terms of practice itself, we’re not going to do anything with him on the field with the team until we know he’s fully ready to go,” Judge added. “His timetable will be different, I’m sure, than a lot of the guys last year that we learned from. One thing we really took away from last year was these things are all very specific to each person, what their symptoms were or what their exposure was, but that time away from training is what’s critical.”
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