Antrel Rolle played for the Chicago Bears this year, but he spent the five previous years playing for Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants. Rolle, a safety, played for the G-Men from 2010 to 2014, making two Pro Bowls and winning a Super Bowl.
It wasn’t always fun for playing for Coughlin, who has a reputation as one of the most demanding coaches in football, but Rolle remembers his time in New York fondly.
“When you see Coach Coughlin, you see the admiration in his eyes,” Rolle said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “You see a guy who loves football more than himself. He was probably the most loyal guy in the business that I met, the most caring person in the business that I met. You can tell that it just genuinely came from the heart. For me, it goes way far beyond football. As a football coach, it speaks for himself, the many testimonies from different guys. We all know what kind of coach he has been for the Giants. But as a man and as a mentor and as someone who can teach you many different things far beyond the game of football, that’s what I appreciate the most from Coach Coughlin.”
Rolle, a free agent before 2009 season, had no qualms about playing for Coughlin.
“There’s a difference in being hard and being a disciplinarian,” Rolle said. “Coach Coughlin, I wouldn’t say he was so hard on us. He was a disciplinarian. He was a stickler for rules. He wanted everyone to be on the same page and follow the same guidelines, but I wouldn’t necessarily say he was a hard coach.”
Interestingly enough, Rolle’s fondest memory with the Giants wasn’t winning Super Bowl XLV; it was practicing for it.
“That was the most phenomenal and fastest practices I’ve ever been a part of in the 11 years I’ve been playing ball (in the NFL),” Rolle said. “As players, we weren’t missing a beat. Our practice-squad players weren’t missing a beat. I was amazed how everyone was out there 15 minutes before practice. We were ready to go. We were locked and loaded and I think coach saw that. He saw that in us. The way we practiced, it was the fastest we moved all year long, and it translated to the game. I think that’s my greatest moment and memory as a Giant – the preparation that week.”
Rolle, 33, has no doubt that Coughlin, 69, will once again coach in the NFL.
“If I know old TC the way I know TC,” Rolle said, “there’s no doubt about it.”