Fassel puts Giants in closed-book category

Ravens notebook

`You've got to move on,' says ex-New York coach before return to stadium

September 01, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

If anyone is curious about whether Ravens senior offensive consultant Jim Fassel will get worked up for his return to Giants Stadium for tomorrow night's preseason game against the New York Giants, don't worry - he won't.

Fassel said getting fired after seven years as Giants coach is part of the business, as is returning to a place with which a person has close ties.

"You've got to move on; you've got to get over it," Fassel said. "Let's go."

Fassel acknowledges he will have some emotions when he walks onto the turf at the stadium for the first time since the Giants' season-ending loss to the Carolina Panthers last year, but also said he is not bitter about the way things ended - a 4-12 record and a final month in which he was essentially a lame-duck coach.

The Giants hired Tom Coughlin to replace Fassel at the end of the year.

"I think the world of [president and co-chief executive officer] Wellington Mara," Fassel said. "They all have been tremendous to my family. I don't leave there with bad feelings; I really don't. I'm living there, I haven't moved. But it's gotten easier."

Fassel led the Giants to a Super Bowl and two NFC East titles. One of his most famous moments came when he guaranteed a playoff berth when the team was 7-4 during its Super Bowl year of 2000.

The Giants went on to lose to the Ravens, 34-7, in the championship game.

Fassel's low point came last year when New York lost its final eight games. Seven of the eight losses were by double digits, including a 45-7 drubbing in New Orleans in December that set off speculation that he had lost the team.

"I threatened some guys and the paint started to come off the walls, and we moved forward," Fassel said.

"There's change in this league, and you've got to be able to be adaptable. If you're not, you're a dinosaur and you're done. I'm one that it's a little harder on because you try to feel loyalty."

Fuller a safety again

Corey Fuller returned to practice yesterday, which also marked his return to safety.

Fuller went from cornerback to safety at the end of minicamp in June, then returned to cornerback during training camp when Dale Carter was declared out for the season with a lung injury.

With Deion Sanders coming to the team, Fuller will be a full-time safety unless an injury occurs to one of the top three cornerbacks.

Fuller was instrumental in getting Sanders to come out of retirement even though the move essentially cost him the nickel-back job.

"I want to win a Super Bowl," Fuller said. "I know I can play safety. I'm supportive because I'm a team player; even if it was another player they were bringing in. But I'm going to be more supportive since it's somebody I love and care for.

"Did it put my job in jeopardy? Maybe so, but I've been cut before when I was suppose to make $4 million."

Stewart to try again

Kordell Stewart will have one final chance to get in sync with the offense tomorrow night, though the veteran quarterback is not putting any more pressure on himself to look more like the Pro Bowl passer he was in 2001.

Stewart had two excellent chances at scoring touchdowns in the preseason game against the Lions Saturday, but threw an interception in the end zone in one case and fumbled away the snap at the 1-yard line in the other.

"You just can't let it happen," Stewart said. "Regardless of how it happened, you just can't let those situations happen because the worst-case scenario is that that is six points. The object is to get something out of it because you work so hard to get down there, and to get nothing could be mind-boggling."

Stewart is 10 of 24 for 137 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions this preseason. "I'm not going to put more pressure on me than what is already presented," Stewart said.

Brief, to the point

With nearly every player who was interviewed yesterday having to answer questions about Sanders, safety Ed Reed had one of the day's funniest replies.

Asked what he planned to say to Sanders when he arrived, Reed said dryly, "Hello. How are you doing?"

Injury report

TE Todd Heap (shoulder), WR Travis Taylor (groin), DE Marques Douglas (elbow) and DE Tony Weaver (ankle) returned to practice yesterday, but will likely not play tomorrow night.

LB Ed Hartwell (quadriceps) and WR Devard Darling (quadriceps) did not practice and are likely out for the game.

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