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Giants RB Jennings apologizes for throwing Eli under bus

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New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings has apologized to quarterback Eli Manning and coach Tom Coughlin for admitting he was told not to score a touchdown late in Sunday night’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Coughlin and Manning have each owned their parts in the Giants’ disastrous clock management that gave the Cowboys enough time for the game-winning score.

“I hope that those who have come to know me over the years will readily see that this is something that is uncharacteristic of me,” Jennings wrote Wednesday in a guest column told to the New York Post. “I take full ownership of the fact that I didn’t handle things as I should have. And for that, again, I truly apologize to my quarterback, to my coach, to my team, and to our fans.”

Manning, losing track of the number of timeouts the Cowboys had left, confirmed Monday that he instructed Jennings not to score a touchdown on two late running plays during the team’s 27-26 loss to the Cowboys.

The Giants held a three-point lead and had the ball inside the Dallas 5-yard line with under two minutes remaining when Manning told Jennings not to cross the goal line. New York settled for a field goal, and the Cowboys responded with the winning drive.

“I thought they had one timeout left and they might let us score to get the ball back,” Manning said Monday. “So I told Rashad, ‘Go down at the 1-inch line and don’t score.’ This did not come from the sideline. It was me, and I was wrong. I cannot be the one in that situation to inform a back. That’s not my decision, in that scenario. I made a mistake.”

Manning compounded the mistake by throwing a third-down incompletion when taking a sack would have allowed the Giants to run 40 more seconds off the clock. The Cowboys got the ball with 1:34 to play.

Jennings told reporters Monday he was told in the huddle he should not try to score a touchdown that would have put the Giants ahead 30-20. Jennings ran for 3 yards on the two plays, leaving the Giants with a third down from the 1.

Jennings said in the column he should not have shared that information.

“I want to apologize from my heart for the negative light that I unintentionally cast my quarterback and friend Eli Manning in,” Jennings wrote in the Post.. “I continue to have the utmost respect for him, and I have complete trust in his leadership. … I admit in retrospect that I should not have shared that information with the world. I chose to do so, and for that choice, I am truly sorry.

“As soon as I got word of the headlines, I called Eli, and before I could even begin to apologize, he basically expressed his understanding. Being the humble guy that he is, he wanted us to put this fiasco behind us with no hard feelings so that we could focus on the Falcons.

“As professional competitors, our deep-rooted desire to win is usually our best friend. It can drive us to leave everything out there on the field. But sometimes, if we are not careful, it can consume us enough to lead us, in the heat of a moment, to say things that only our souls should hear. We all just want to win. And I truly believe that I have learned a very valuable lesson about just how delicate a balance we must maintain in keeping ourselves and our team focused on the preeminent goal of winning games.”


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