Football Has a Moment in May

Hakeem Nicks breaks his foot and Tebowmania resumes

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, May 25, 2012  |  Updated 8:09 AM EDT
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Memorial Day conjures up all kinds of images.

The end of school just around the corner with endless summer waiting beyond that and a weekend of barbeques to kick the whole thing off. Baseball has its place, as do basketball and hockey playoff games, but football isn't usually too high on the list of priorities unless it is being played against your cousins in the backyard.

Prepare the sepia tone for those memories because the NFL is a 365-day sport these days. We got a big reminder of that on Thursday from both the Giants and the Jets.

Naturally, since the Giants won the Super Bowl, the Jets grabbed most of the attention. Twitter covered the start of Gang Green's Organized Team Activities with the kind of breakneck blow-by-blow accuracy usually reserved for mass protests around the world.

Tim Tebow threw two interceptions, a moment shared by many but the rather hyperbolic nature of the whole thing was best captured by Gary Myers of the Daily News. On May 24, Myers spent a little time analyzing the starting quarterback derby between Tebow and Mark Sanchez.

"Tebow picked off by Bart Scott and Yeremiah Bell about 2 minutes apart in OTAs. Sanchez lengthening lead in Jets QB derby."

Sanchez was declared the winner of the day, because it's natural to make your assessment of things in one of the first practices for a guy in a new offense who you already knew was a wildly inaccurate passer. To be fair, there was more than a little sarcasm bouncing around the writers but the fact that a practice on May 24 was covered like this tells you a lot about how much the NFL matters to this country.

It's no wonder that the Giants had to go big in order to grab any attention. The team announced that wide receiver Hakeem Nicks broke a bone in his foot at practice on Thursday.

Nicks will have surgery on Friday and the team said they expected him to miss 12 weeks. That would get him back for the end of training camp, but Tom Coughlin hedged a bit and said they felt it would be close on getting Nicks back for the opener.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara had a similar injury last year and missed 15 weeks, costing him most of his rookie season, so Coughlin's words carry some weight. The loss of Nicks highlights how lucky the Giants were to have Rueben Randle drop to them with the 63rd pick.

Randle, considered a first rounder by many coming into the season before his unexpected drop, figures to get most of the work in Nicks' place. That should help him acclimate to the NFL and the timing isn't bad assuming Nicks doesn't have any setbacks, but this has set off some unhappy memories from last season.

The team lost cornerback Brian Witherspoon to a torn ACL in the first OTA on Wednesday -- the second-straight pre-season torn ACL for the star-crossed Witherspoon -- and Nicks' injury following so closely can't help but remind you of the injury ravaged training camp last year.

Then again, that worked out well enough for the Giants. Does lightning really strike twice?

Something to discuss after breaking down the Jets' kicker situation at the barbeque.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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