EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Landon Collins revealed what seemed obvious last week, that the reason Ereck Flowers is skipping the Giants' offseason program is because he's "unhappy" with the team for replacing him at left tackle with free agent Nate Solder. That had long been everyone's assumption anyway.
Still, Giants coach Pat Shurmur wishes Collins had kept that to himself.
"Yeah, well that's not for Landon to talk about," Shurmur said Saturday morning during Day 2 of the Giants' rookie mini-camp. "I think the important thing is let's let Ereck talk for Ereck when he gets here and we'll worry about that later. Really, I don't think our players should be talking about another player's situation."
Consider that the latest attempt by Shurmur, the new Giants coach, to clean up what had been a dysfunctional locker room last season -- and perhaps a warning shot in the direction of the talkative Collins, who famously got involved in Eli Apple's business last season calling him "a cancer". Shurmur obviously would prefer any team issues remain in-house, with the only comments on them coming from him or GM Dave Gettleman.
That's a message he surely will relay to Collins, if he hasn't done it already.
Of course, that's not to suggest that Shurmur or anyone in the Giants organization is happy that the 24-year-old Flowers has chosen to train on his own in Florida instead of joining most of his teammates at the "voluntary" offseason training program. In fact, the Giants are very angry with his decision and even discussed the possibility of trading the former first-round pick during the recent NFL draft.
But Shurmur has been taking a softer approach towards Flowers. He called the disgruntled and disappointing tackle shortly after the Giants signed Solder in an attempt to massage his ego and to reassure him that he will "compete" for the starting right tackle job. And he has been consistent in saying mostly positive things about the moody, 6-6, 325-pounder, including that he saw many "good things" from the film he watched last year.
"I can't wait for him to be here," Shurmur said. "I've mentioned it in the past: There were some things he did last year that were really good. I look forward to him getting here at some point.
"We feel like we're a better team with him here than without him."
Shurmur said the Giants have had "contact" with Flowers and "It's our understanding that he's in good shape." However, he gave no indication of when Flowers might decide to rejoin the Giants. Since the offseason program is voluntary, he's not required to report to the team until the mandatory, full-team mini-camp in mid-June.
The Giants are hopeful, though, that he will show up sooner, especially with Phase 3 of the offseason program - the "organized team activities" on the field - set to begin in less than two weeks. Flowers recently hired agent Drew Rosenhaus who touted his "good relationship with the Giants" in an email to SNY and promised to speak with the team "soon" about Flowers' situation. That was back on May 1, so it's possible that conversation has already taken place.
But there's no sign of a thaw yet in the relationship between Flowers and the Giants - at least none that would indicate Flowers' imminent return.
"When he gets here we'll talk about it," Shurmur said. "We're communicating with him. There's been times when Odell (Beckham) hasn't been here and we've communicated with him. So we're looking forward to him being here."