On Day 3 of the new CBA, Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara joined "Pro Football Talk Live" on Thursday afternoon, talking with Mike Florio about everything from the offensive line to Tom Coughlin’s contract extension.
But before Mara touched on the future of the Giants, he first looked back on the lockout and everything leading up to it, saying that it really was a two-year process and not just the time since March.
Since Monday, when the executive committee of the players association and the 32 player reps recommended approval of the deal, Mara has fielded a handful of interviews and consistently points to a time when the owners and players sat down together without any lawyers present.
On Thursday, he said that a turning point in the talks was the meeting held in the Chicagosuburb of St. Charles in early June.
"We had a dinner with them out there which I thought kind of broke the ice a little bit," Mara told Florio. "And then when we went into the session the next day, I just found the conversation was a lot more meaningful and was a lot more honest. You didn't have all the posturing that went on when you had a whole bunch of people in the room, including a lot of lawyers and staff and advisers and everything. I just thought it became a much more personal process. And for me, if I had to point to one moment in time where things started to change, that would be the moment when we met with them in Illinois."
Mara then spoke about the relationship between NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith, explaining the balancing act of 32 "very opinionated owners" and 1,900 players.
"So there may have been times where they were in agreement on certain issues but then they've got to go back to their respective constituencies and try to get some sort of accord," Mara said. "That's not always easy to do. So they had a lot of private conversations over the past few months, and I think their relationship has been very good for quite some time. But then again, trying to get each of your respective sides to move in the right direction is often easier said than done."
On the segment prior to Mara's, Florio interviewed Smith himself, who had some words on Mara's role.
"Reaching a consensus between folks on the other side of the table who are equally reasonable and love the game, that's how it gets done," Smith said. "And for guys like John Mara … John spent a tremendous amount of time investing both personally and professionally in the future of this game."
Then it was time to talk real football, and Mara shed light on Coughlin's contract extension, which signed the head coach through the 2012 season. The Giants officially released the news on Wednesday, but Mara revealed that the ink had been dry for a while.
"Truth be told, that was signed months and months ago," Mara said. "We just announced it the other day. That's just an arrangement that we're comfortable with, that he's comfortable with … We obviously think very highly of him and have had some success with him here. He's as good a human being as you'll find in this business, and he's the guy that we want leading our team on this field."
Meanwhile, the organization made some tougher decisions.
Earlier in the week, the Giants cut ties to offensive linemen Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert, two of the most tenured and beloved pillars in the locker room.
Florio asked if it was a move to make cap room or just a matter of time.
"Well, it was a combination of a lot of things," Mara said. "Those are some, on a personal note, some painful moves. Some of these guys, particularly Rich Seubert and Shaun O'Hara, have had a long history here and have been great players and great citizens for us. That was a very emotional day when we had to tell them that we were moving on. But that's the nature of this business. We just felt like we needed to put some new bodies in there."