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Tom Coughlin thinks more about the Hall of Fame than he does retiring

Tom Coughlin speaks to the media following OTAs

Tom Coughlin speaks to the media following OTAs at Timex Performance Center. (May 22, 2013) Credit: Mike Stobe

ORLANDO, Fla. - Tom Coughlin didn't give any clues about when his coaching career will end, but for the first time he did hint at where he'd like to wind up.

The two-time Super Bowl champion who normally deflects such ideas admitted Wednesday morning that he has thought about his potential place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day.

"I think everybody aspires to it," Coughlin said at the NFC coaches' breakfast at the NFL's annual meetings. "You want to be the very, very best you can be and if the highest point of recognition in our game is the Hall of Fame, then why not think about that? But do I think about it every day? No."

The subject is sure to come up again since the Giants are playing the Hall of Fame Game this summer. Coughlin said the best part of that distinction will be having the entire team in Canton, Ohio, to witness and celebrate the enshrinement of Michael Strahan.

"Another great Giant going in," Coughlin said. Perhaps he will be the next one.

For that to happen, he'll have to retire. Coaches need to be off the sideline for a minimum of five years before they can be considered, and Coughlin said he has no intentions of starting that clock.

"What else am I going to do?" he asked. "I feel good, I'm healthy, Judy [his wife] is really good toward it, the family is positive and supporting . . . As long as I feel good, productive, energetic, and of course the players respond, I'd like to think I can keep going."

Coughlin will be 68 when the 2014 season begins. He recently agreed to a one-year contract extension that will carry through the 2015 season, but he hinted that he could go beyond that even and coach into his 70s.

"I don't have a problem seeing that," he said.

He can also see himself being a Hall of Famer, being honored among the greats he aspired to when he came into the league like Bill Walsh, Tom Landry, Joe Gibbs and, one of his mentors, the recently enshrined Bill Parcells.

"You never think about thoughts like that when you're a young coach," he said. "You just try to be the best you can and you talk about: Can I get to the Division I level? Can I get somehow to be in the pro game as an assistant? I'm an assistant now, can I spread my wings a little bit and wrap my arms around it and maybe have a chance to be a head coach? And then, can I win some games and accomplish some things I have to to stay at this level? So you don't really ever think that way."

But eventually, in Coughlin's case, the wins mount up. And so do the titles -- two of them with the Giants plus his history in Jacksonville. That certainly makes him a strong candidate.

"I think it merits consideration, yeah," he said, "but that's as far as I'm going."

Notes & quotes: Coughlin said he, new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and the rest of the coaching staff are "better than halfway through the completion of where we want to be" in the process of redesigning the offense. He reiterated the idea that the new system will be flexible. "Whatever it is that our people allow us to do, we're going to do." . . . The Giants don't believe newly signed OL John Jerry will be disciplined for his role in the culture of harassment during his time with the Dolphins, but commissioner Roger Goodell would not say that such discipline is off the table until after Jerry and others named in the Wells Report are evaluated by medical experts. The feeling is he is more likely to be ordered into mandatory counseling or fined than suspended. Coughlin did say Jerry expressed "sincere remorse" for his behavior in Miami before the Giants signed him last week.

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