Giants rookies make a visit and put everything in perspective
By Jorge Castillo/The Star-Ledger
The 16 members of the Giants rookie class are just over a month into their NFL careers and are laboring through the struggles of the transition to the sport’s highest level. But a trip to Monroe Township to visit Make-A-Wish New Jersey’s Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place put it all in perspective.
Fifteen of the 16 rookies – tight end Adrien Robinson is still finishing classes at Cincinnati – in addition to Larry Donnell made the trip yesterday afternoon following their organized team activities in the morning where 20 children who have suffered from life-threatening illnesses.
“A lot of people go through practice and say it’s hard, but these are the kids that are fighting cancer, trying to overcome diseases and we have nothing to compare to that so it just makes you really think, like we’re not going through anything,” linebacker Jake Muasau said.
The Giants have a longstanding relationship with the foundation and five children on hand had wished granted by the team in the past. The players were introduced one-by-one, heard stories from a couple of the children in attendance and had an eat-and-greet with the children and families before they took a tour of the location, known as the castle.
The Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place, which serves as the headquarters of the New Jersey chapter, was built behind philanthropic donations and completed in December.
“It’s awesome to be here because a lot of times we just get into a routine with lifting, practicing, meetings every day, and it’s just nice to get out, come here, see these kids and it puts all the work we do in perspective,” running back Joe Martinek said. “It’s amazing to see the smiles on the kids and all that work we do, all that stress we put ourselves through, it actually means something.”
Founded in 1983, Make-A-Wish New Jersey serves the entire state and has granted over 7,000 wishes. It granted more than 400 in 2011.
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On the other end of the rookies’ youthful exuberance lies their coach Tom Coughlin, who at age 66 signed a two-year contract extension yesterday through the 2014 season worth $20 million.
But while his age may indicate he’s on his last legs, the rookies have sensed that isn’t the case with Coughlin in their brief time with him.
“I wouldn’t know,” defensive back Janzen Jackson said. “He’s 66, but he seems like he’s 26 to me, walking around out there excited and stuff.”
In just over a month, the rookies have come to understand what sets Coughlin apart and helped him win two Super Bowls over the last five seasons.
“He treats you like man,” safety Jojo Nicolas said. “He expects you to respond like a man and carry yourself in the proper manner. Everything is team-oriented and it’s focused on the main goal of winning and not being selfish. It’s always about the team.”
Photo Credit: Jerry McCrea/The Star Ledger
Zack Pollack of Passaic shares a laugh with Giants rookie defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, during a Giants rookie draft class meet and greet for Make-a-Wish children held at the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place in Monroe Twp.
This article originally was originally printed in The Star Ledger.