EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Instead of shoes at the bottom of his locker, New York Giants safety Stevie Brown had a couple of power cords.
One carried a charge into his cellphone and the other into his laptop in somewhat of a crossing pattern. A flashlight was plugged into a nearby outlet.
While the Giants (6-2) prepare for Sunday’s home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4), the electronic equipment at the bottom of the locker of the NFC Defensive Player of the Week was a sign of another opponent the Giants are facing this week — the aftermath of Sandy.
The superstorm devastated areas of New York City and New Jersey, and it has left a number of Giants without power at home, something an NFL player needs to review videotape of upcoming opponents as well as to stay warm and comfortable.
Only some players and coaches said they had power on Wednesday. Receiver Victor Cruz got it back after losing it for a couple of hours on Monday. Guard Kevin Boothe never lost power so he hosted tight end Martellus Bennett and his wife on Tuesday. Coach Tom Coughlin believes he never lost his electricity, but said he hasn’t been home much since the team returned from Dallas early Monday following a win over the Cowboys. Coughlin has been busy working on preparations for Pittsburgh.
Sandy struck Monday evening and left a wake of destruction not seen in decades — or ever.
“It’s definitely shocking,” said Cruz, who grew up 20 minutes from MetLife Stadium. “I mean, you’ve seen it with a couple of hurricanes in the past, when I was younger. I used to see all of that stuff. It never directly affected me. The past couple of years — a couple of hurricanes when you see things, when you see a couple having to evacuate their home and stuff — it definitely hits close to home a little bit.”
This storm destroyed towns and beaches, swamped cars, knocked down trees and left more than a million people without power.
Quarterback Eli Manning was one of them, and he moved out of his Hoboken residence and into a hotel after his lobby flooded.
“I saw a little bit once I got to the hotel and finally got power,” Manning said Wednesday before practice. “Saw some images and pictures and news just about some of the tragic events and the deaths and the fires and loss of homes, whether in New York and New Jersey and all over.
“Just some terrible stories, and obviously you send out prayers to those families and those people who are still going through terrible situations right now. So I guess I feel fortunate that we can come in and come to work and be with our friends and teammates here. My family is safe, so I feel fortunate that we’re here today.”
Having grown up in New Orleans, Manning is no stranger to hurricanes. However, his family tended to evacuate before major storms as a precaution. As a player, he couldn’t do that here.
“I didn’t really have that option this time of getting out of Dodge,” Manning said. “You know it’s no joke and it can be very serious, and you just hope.”
Bennett walked the streets of his West New York neighborhood, helping people before heading over to the Boothes, where he pained pictures with Boothe’s 2-year-old son.
“This is what this team is about,” said Bennett, who lives by the water. “We have a great group of guys, and anytime you are in need of help they reach out.”
“My son thought Martellus was there, solely to play with him,” Boothe added. “They had a great time.”
Linebacker Michael Boley has experienced tornadoes in the south and said he wasn’t too scared by the howling winds in Edgewater. He also isn’t worried about the storm taking some of the team’s focus. He said players will stay at the team headquarters longer so they don’t have a problem with power concerns in watching film.
“Not a lot of things are going to change around here, storm or not,” Boley said.
Most of the players said Coughlin is a calming influence during these unexpected problems. A couple of years ago it was a snowstorm in Minnesota that forced the team to play in Detroit.
“We’re not denying what’s going on. I mean, I think that’s foolish,” Coughlin said. “Everyone has been struck by this. Although, I would like very much to make sure that the focus is 100 percent on the task at hand. I think you do have to have a little bit of a mature attitude about these young men, their families and some of the circumstances they might be going through.Just like probably 85 percent of you who don’t have power.
“Well, there’s no sense in ducking that one. I mean, we’ve got guys who have kind of doubled up, and families have gone to where they can, where power is in existence, especially people with young children. I’ll try to do the best I can with that, but there’s no avoiding what’s happened here. Quite frankly, we don’t want to. That’s not our job. We realize this is a part of life. We’ve been struck by a blow by Mother Nature and we have to deal with it the best way we can.”
That is why Brown brings his phone, flashlight and computer to work these days, to get them charged and ready for more work in the dark.
“I just have a dog,” Brown said. “Me and him sit in the dark with the candles lit. It’s pretty romantic.”
The Giants last played the Steelers on August 21, 2010, losing 24-17 at MetLife Stadium.
Hopefully the Giants can provide a bit of an escape for Tri-Staters on Sunday. Offer your thoughts in the comments section below…
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