It was only fitting General Raymond Odierno stopped by the Giants’ final practice before Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh.
As circumstances would have it, the Army Chief of Staff was in town both aiding the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and participating in the NFL’s ‘Salute to Service’ campaign. The Nov. 4 game in MetLife Stadium is the Giants’ designated week to honor the military, which will include welcoming home soldiers of the Fighting 69th, a New York-based Army National Guard Infantry.
“The General is here, it was great to have him,” Coughlin said. “Always look forward to seeing him. He’s in town for all the festivities (surrounding the NFL’s Salute to Service). He’s actually working now; he’s got 10,000 soldiers in New York City. He was over there, he was up at West Point and he’ll be at our game on Sunday.”
Gen. Odierno, who has a long relationship with Coughlin and the Giants, spoke to the team after practice.
Coughlin summed up his message to the players: “I think they will take forward the toughness, the resiliency of the people in this Greater New York-New Jersey-Connecticut, the entire Eastern Seaboard, that’s been affected in such a way by this huge storm; I think that the message is the toughness here, the resiliency. We will not be stopped by the storm. We will come back. We will fight our way through this. We will get things right again. Just the pride that has been demonstrated to the General this morning, I think he verbalized very well for us out here.”
Meanwhile, the Steelers franchise is doing what it can to help the greater cause.
The team had to adjust its regular travel schedule because the hotel where it would have stayed is still without power.
Taking it one step further, team officials elected to fly in the morning of the game instead of looking for other accommodations that would take up resources and possibly displace those in need.
“The word that comes to mind is ‘noble,’” Coughlin said. “They were very noble about that. They wanted to do their part to help the folks, the people in our area.”