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Football is normally easy for wide receiver Kadarius Toney, but on Friday, the shoe was on the other foot — only one foot, to be exact.
Toney, the Giants’ first-round pick, did some drills with a bare right foot on day one of rookie minicamp in East Rutherford, N.J., because he said his cleats were “the wrong size.”
Then he appeared to hurt his foot, requiring mid-practice attention from trainers and sitting out the team’s post-practice conditioning sprints alongside corner Rodarius Williams, whose calf acted up.
It was an unexpectedly eventful first NFL practice for Toney.
“I have to take the situation for what it is, you know what I’m saying?” Toney said. “Like if I was limited to anything, I just had to deal with that … Nerve-wise, I was eager to go out there and show the coaches what I can do. They came and took a chance on me. The least I can do is show them my ability and what I can actually bring to the organization.”
Early in practice, Toney appeared uncomfortable and took off his right cleat but continued doing drills with a bare right foot and a cleat on his left.
“I think it was just the wrong size,” Toney said.. “They’re figuring that out right now … I do whatever it takes, you know what I’m saying? I probably have [done that before], honest. I don’t remember. It’s just me. That’s the dog mentality.”
Toney put his shoes back on and ran a few routes. But then he walked off, took both shoes off and was tended to by trainers, while sitting on top of an equipment chest in between fields. GM Dave Gettleman and head athletic trainer Ronnie Barnes were paying close attention.
Giants coach Joe Judge couldn’t answer if Toney and Williams had hurt themselves or not when asked after practice. Judge said he still had to check with Barnes.
“You know what I have to check with Ronnie,” Judge said. “I looked over at the end and they were at the trainers, so it’s something Ronnie was talking to them about, so I’ll get the injury report when we’re done here and see where we go from there.”
WIlliams’ seemed to be more obvious: he was hobbling at one point and had a trainer rolling the back of one of his calves. He also finished practice despite the hiccup.
Toney, asked why he didn’t do the post-practice conditioning run, said: “It was just a safer route to go, I guess you could say.”
Toney looked smooth on the few times he did open up and run, before he slowed it down. Judge assured, though, that this was just an orientation to acclimate the players.
“This isn’t a competition weekend or a situation where we’re cutting down the team,” Judge said. “We’re getting a look at them physically and getting them moving around.”
Don’t expect Toney to wear No. 89 much longer.
When a fan posted on Instagram “he ain’t keeping 89,” Toney responded: “somebody smart.” And on Friday, when asked how he landed on 89, Toney laughed.
“Really wasn’t my choice,” he said, “but I mean, at the end of the day at least I got a jersey, you know what I’m saying. Like it could have went a lot of different ways. So yeah, I’m thankful ... I’m just thankful to have it. It don’t really matter what number I have. It don’t make the person. The number don’t make the person.”
Toney’s high school number (4) and most recent college number (1) are retired with the Giants. His first number at Florida, No. 17, belongs at the moment to quarterback Clayton Thorson, one of two QBs at this weekend’s minicamp.
Kelvin Benjamin is trying out as a tight end and is listed at that position on the Giants’ minicamp roster, even though Benjamin has never played any position but receiver in the NFL. Running backs Corey Clement (Eagles) and Ito Smith (Falcons), fullback Frank Feaster (Muhlenberg, Westwood, N.J.), and quarterback Nathan Rourke (Ohio) are the other tryouts.
Judge said the Giants would try Benjamin at receiver, too: “I wouldn’t pin him down to one position.” The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder didn’t look fleet of foot, though, and Judge was coaching Benjamin up on making tight turns upfield and proper ball security after the catch.