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Giants’ Mara Glad He Didn’t Have To Force Out Gilbride

Kevin Gilbride, left, and Tom Coughlin in 2006 (credit: Getty Images)

Kevin Gilbride, left, and Tom Coughlin in 2006 (credit: Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York Giants insist former offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride made the decision to retire on his own.

But let’s just say it could have been a much, much different scene in East Rutherford.

“He retired,” Giants co-owner John Mara said Thursday on WFAN radio. “And fortunately it didn’t come to any situation where he had to be forced out.”

Gilbride made the announcement on the first day of organizational meetings last week. The team was indeed “prepared to fire” the 62-year-old had he not walked away from the game, the New York Post reported.

The Giants finished 7-9 in 2013, missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. Gilbride received the brunt of the criticism after a season that included a career-worst — and franchise record — 27 interceptions for quarterback Eli Manning.

“There’s no question our offense did not play well this year, and really in a number of games just put us in a hole that we could not climb out of,” Mara said. “I think going forward having a change is probably going to be good for us.”

Gilbride won two Super Bowl titles with the Giants as offensive coordinator. He joined the team as quarterbacks coach in 2004 and was promoted to lead the offense during the ’06 season.

“He did an outstanding job for this franchise and I told him that,” Mara said. “People have short memories. They forget that he called two Super Bowls. … I don’t want to diminish what Kevin did for this franchise. We wouldn’t have won two Super Bowls without him.”

Head coach Tom Coughlin told WFAN last week that Gilbride wasn’t forced to retire. And he challenged any notion that the Giants’ letdown this season — and their 0-6 start — was Gilbride’s fault alone.

“To think that there’s any one individual who is responsible for the circumstances that we found ourselves in, that’s crazy,” Coughlin told host Mike Francesa on Jan. 3. “Kevin Gilbride is an excellent football coach, he’s an excellent teacher and communicator. His players do respond to him. He works very, very hard at his trade … He has made his mark on this organization.”

NOTES: Also on WFAN, Giants general manager Jerry Reese announced Thursday that running back David Wilson will undergo neck surgery.

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