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Giants’ London trip a team-bonding opportunity

New York Giants' Eli Manning passes against the

New York Giants' Eli Manning passes against the Miami Dolphins during their NFL football game at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007. The game was the first NFL regular season game played in Europe. Photo Credit: AP / Kirsty Wigglesworth

Once an NFL season starts, there aren’t many occasions for team bonding on road trips. The players usually land in a city for one night, play a game the next day, and are gone immediately afterward.

Going to London, however, presents a chance for a football team to be together for multiple days in a foreign city, and the Giants are looking forward to the opportunity.

“We have as close-knit team already so I think this will only help,” linebacker Keenan Robinson said on Tuesday. “When guys are here a lot of our free time is spent with our families but there the time will be spent with the team, so I think it definitely will only help us.”

It’s almost like training camp, Robinson said.

“In college you get that camaraderie with a bunch of guys in your age group, you build it over four years,” he said. “Here it’s a little different. You have new guys every year, new faces in rookies and free agents. And the age range is 20 or 21 all the way to 34, 35. It’s a little different. But I think these opportunities help us create a bond that we need as the season progresses to get us where we want to go later in the season.”

The only other opportunity for this kind of close-knit, long-term travel typically comes during the Super Bowl. In fact, the last time the Giants went to London, in 2007, it wound up being a bit of a dry run for the Super Bowl.

“It was good practice last time,” Eli Manning said.

When the Giants went to London in 2007 they landed after an overnight flight and went straight to the practice field.

“It was not good,” Manning said of that bleary-eyed workout. “Guys didn’t know where they were or what was going on, what country they were in. Brandon Jacobs wanted to go see the Eiffel Tower. There was a lot going on.”

They won’t be keeping that same schedule this time, but Manning hopes the result is similar (a win over the Dolphins that time) as well as the aftermath.

“At the time it was fun,” Manning said of his last game in London. “Hanging out during the week, going to dinner on a Friday night or a Saturday, just having a good bit of time to be with your players . . . I think it’s good to have that away trip and see what this team is made of when your circumstances change and the schedule changes, how we can adapt and go out there and still play at a high level.”


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