The Giants had a special, though not unfamiliar, guest at practice today. General Ray Odierno, the commanding general of the multi-national forces in Iraq, joined behind the line of scrimmage during practice and then addressed the team afterward.
He's a big Giants fans, having grown up in Rockaway, N.J., and has been a frequent guest of Tom Coughlin's. He told the squad that there are plenty of servicemen and women out there who are keeping tabs on them.
“I think about you all the time,” said Odierno, who watched the Giants’ Super Bowl XLII victory over New England in his Baghdad office. “And all the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines think about you guys all the time. On Saturday afternoon, the conversation starts about whose team is going to win and it goes all the way through Tuesday morning when the Monday night game is over. And it means a lot to them as they have that discussion.
"All I ask you to do is go out there this week against the Eagles and depend on each other. And when you come off that field, no matter what happens in the end, you can say, ‘I’ve left everything I possibly could have done on that field.’ You only get so many opportunities in life. As you get older, like me, you realize you don’t ever want to have missed opportunities. So with that opportunity, do and work the hardest you possibly can so you can carry through with that opportunity.
"I want you to know that in Iraq right now there are 115,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who love watching you all perform. But what they like to see most is the compassion, the excitement and the downright toughness that you show every day. I always talk about mental and physical toughness. … Good luck. I know this is a big game for you this week. I will be rooting for you hard.”