It’s been a relatively sleepy summer around Giants training camp, and that’s exactly how the Giants like it.
The Jets and their Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl hype express have occupied most of the oxygen around these New York football parts as we embark on the regular season next week, and that’s exactly how the Giants like it.
Wednesday, though, some sparks of passion flew from the Giants’ locker room — the author of some strong words directed at Rodgers and the Jets being 29-year-old eighth-year defensive lineman Jihad Ward.
Ward, in his second season with the Giants, took offense to Rodgers and Jets receiver Randall Cobb, who delivered an illegal blindside block on Giants cornerback Bobby McCain on a Rodgers pass completion in the teams’ annual preseason game Saturday night at MetLife Stadium.
Cobb was penalized and McCain left the game after the play with a concussion and, as of Wednesday, remained in concussion protocol.
The salty exchange was brought to light by the latest HBO episode of “Hard Knocks,’’ during which Rodgers mocked Ward after Ward shoved him following a play. Rodgers, who was mic’d up, was seen and heard having a back-and-forth with Ward.
“That’s f–king bulls–t, bro,” Rodgers said to Ward. “What the f–k is that? Show some respect. C’mon, what the f–k is that? Five damn steps.”
Rodgers, on the sideline with teammates after the exchange, told them, “I threw that ball and he f-–king took five steps and pushed me. I said, ‘I don’t even know who you are.’ And he said, ‘I don’t know who you are.’ And I said, ‘Bulls-–t.’ ”
An official separated Rodgers and Ward after the brief exchange, but they went back at it one play later, after Rodgers threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson.
“Don’t poke the bear,” Rodgers chirped at Ward as he went to go celebrate with Wilson.
Wednesday after practice, Ward spoke about it for the first time since the incident and revealed that his love tap on Rodgers was retaliation for the Cobb hit on McCain, and Rodgers subsequently laughing it up about the hit with Cobb, calling it a good hit.
“There’s a reason why I acted like that from the first place,’’ Ward said. “There’s a reason why I shoved him like I did. The reason why is because I don’t let any of my motherf–king teammates get knocked over. And Randall — what’s his name? — Randall Cobb? He knew what he did. That was some cheap s–t.
“At the end of the day, I don’t want anyone out here thinking I was trying to cause a scene. There’s a reason why I do things. That was some sucker s–t that Randall Cobb and Aaron Rodgers did. I ain’t hiding from nothing. Laugh now, cry later.’’
Ward mocked the fact that HBO, because of its Rodgers worship, missed the reason for the exchange.
“They’re going to entertain, they’re going to show his part, HBO,’’ Ward said. “They weren’t even in on the whole scenario with what really went down, so they’re going to show his side of the story and make me look like a sucker. But I ain’t going for that. My side of the story is I’m not going to let any of my teammates get knocked down like that.’’
Ward said he was not only ticked off at Cobb for the hit but at Rodgers, too, for laughing about it.
“They know what they did — laughing and all that stuff,’’ Ward said. “The whole team was pissed off [about the hit], preseason and all that stuff and you’re going to do some reaction and all that s–t. That’s how they roll.’’
And then this delicious warning shot from Ward: “I think we play them soon, so … ’’
Indeed, the Jets and Giants play each other Oct. 29 at MetLife Stadium in a game that counts for real.
“I don’t do this entertainment s–t,’’ Ward said. “I’ve got to worry about Dallas [in the Giants’ Sept 10 season-opener. The Jets] aren’t in my division. I could care less about them. All this s–t is for the hype.’’
Yes, it is. And, if we’re being transparent, who doesn’t love a little bit of hype?
A little spice added to the hype is a nice respite from the sleepy summer. It, too, provides a reminder for all of us who crave the real thing, which begins in earnest Sept. 10 for the Giants and Sept. 11 for the Jets.
Eventually, we’ll get to Oct. 29 at MetLife, and all this passion will be stirred up again. By then, Rodgers and Ward will need no introduction.
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