EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Kadarius Toney experienced a full range of NFL emotions yesterday in his fifth career game.
With three wide receivers -- Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Kenny Golladay -- down with injuries, the Giants' 2021 first-round draft choice stepped up. He set a franchise rookie record with 189 receiving yards on 10 catches.
That was the good news. The bad news was the Giants lost to the Dallas Cowboys in AT&T Stadium, 44-20. And Toney was already in the locker room when the game ended because he was ejected for punching Dallas safety Demontae Kazee with 5:52 remaining.
First, the performance, in which Toney broke Odell Beckham Jr.'s rookie record of 185 yards, set in 2014.
"It really felt special really just going out there and executing the game plan," Toney said. "We worked on the plays over and over throughout the week and it just felt good to execute at a high level going out there."
Toney was contrite when asked about the ejection.
"Me and (coach Joe) Judge talked, and you know, stuff like that," Toney said. "Really, it was just a one-time thing. I'm a rookie making early mistakes. I've just got to learn from them and build from it.
"I felt like I needed to apologize to mainly everyone because as far as little kids looking up to me and stuff like that, it's not the example I want to set for them. I feel like everybody makes mistakes and stuff like that, but at the end of the day we always have to be accountable for our emotions and our actions also."
View the best photos of wide receiver Kadarius Toney's rookie season with the Giants.
Judge would not say if Toney will be disciplined.
"I spoke to Kadarius," Judge said. "I've spoken to the team as well. Look, that's something we're not going to condone. In terms of any discipline, I keep things in house. So, I'm not going to go ahead and make any kind of public statements about anything that's going to be happening in house. But I spoke to KT, I'm not going to speak for him right now, I know he put something out there already, but I like the way this guy has responded to a lot of things and I'm confident he's going to respond the right way to this."
The teams engaged in a brief skirmish after Toney caught a 13-yard pass from backup quarterback Mike Glennon. Toney dismissed a suggestion that his hit on Kazee might have been justified.
"It's more of a moral thing, at the end of the day," Toney said. "I know right from wrong. At the end of the day, I know that in this sport, it's not boxing or hockey or anything else where you can just fight and stuff like that. At the end of the day, I've got to take responsibility for what I did and that's just what it is. If it was a wrong action, that's just how I look at it."
Toney insisted his play on the field will define him going forward.
"All I've got to do is really show by my actions," he said. "We've got a few opponents coming up that are 'rowdy' I guess you could say. Just how I react, it's not about what they do, but how I react – and I know how to react from now on."