Giants offensive lineman Joe Looney is about to enter his tenth NFL season, but he’s never quite had the kind of “welcome to training camp, buddy” moment he received on just his second practice with the team.
Looney was sent on a penalty lap around the field with quarterback Daniel Jones by head coach Joe Judge after he and Jones botched a snap.
To a newcomer not familiar with Judge’s old-school method of holding players and coaches accountable for mental errors, being told to run a lap might come as a shock. For Looney, it simply brought back memories of playing football from his childhood days.
“Yeah, that’s something I ain’t done since little league, but you know I loved it,” said the outgoing Looney. “It’s another way to hold us accountable as professionals. If you make a mistake, you’re going to have to run a lap for it. You know, I’m all about it. It holds us accountable at the end of the day.”
Like a good teammate, Looney took the blame for the botched snap, chalking it up to knocking off some rust. From a big picture perspective, Looney couldn’t be happier to be with the Giants, where he reunites with Jason Garrett, the team’s offensive coordinator and Looney’s head coach in Dallas for the last five years.
“It was definitely a tough decision for me,” said Looney, whom the Giants courted last off-season in free agency as well before he ended up re-signing with the Cowboys. “I was with Dallas for a long time, and the family’s back there, but we work in a business, so we’re all going to be moving around. I’m very thankful to be signed here and go through training camp.
“But I put my faith in Jesus Christ at the end of the day. Wherever He wants to put me, He’s going to put me. I’m just going to go with the flow and trying to be the best player I can be and the best guy I can be at the facility.”
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Although Looney has primarily played center during his career, he has also done some work at guard. That versatility has appealed to head coach Joe Judge as he looks to build a solid offensive line.
“He’s got experience with (Offensive Coordinator) Jason (Garrett) before, so there’s some familiarity with the system, although it’s not a carbon copy from before,” said Judge of Looney. “He’ll have to get on the same page with some of the new terms and verbiage we have with our line coaches and some of the new system adjustments we made.
“We’re going to let him compete at all three spots like everybody else, make sure we build on our versatility. That’s always a strength for us.”
Being that utility man at all three spots is fine by Looney, who’s just out there having fun playing a game he’s played since childhood.
“My dad always told me when I was a kid running out to play little league games, ‘get cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.’ So he always made it fun. He was my coach growing up, and my mom always supported me, so it’s always been fun. I know there’s a lot of pressure on us at the end of the day being professional athletes, but we can’t forget what the game is about. It’s about having fun and being around these guys.
“Wherever they want me at and wherever I can come in and help and step in even coach and give guys little tips here and there. I’m just out here trying to have fun. At the end of the day, this is a game. It’s a kid’s game that we play, so I’m going to come out here and have fun and give it my all.”
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