Wide receiver turned tight end Kelvin Benjamin had himself one heck of a first day of training camp with the New York Giants.
The former Carolina Panthers first-round pick was seen on the field with the rest of his teammates during the early stages of practice, only to be released shortly thereafter.
“He (Kelvin Benjamin) was on the field warming up for the team’s first practice of training camp Wednesday when he was approached by coach Joe Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman. After a conversation that lasted several minutes, during which Benjamin appeared to be getting animated, he walked off the field and into the locker room,” ESPN’s Jordan Raanan noted on Wednesday.
We’re now hearing some more from the former 1,000-yard receiver after what seemed to be a drama-filled exit from the Giants’ organization. To say that Benjamin isn’t happy would be an understatement.
Kelvin Benjamin lays into New York Giants after surprise release
“It was just like they were trying to sabotage me to get me out of there,” Benjamin told Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com in a phone interview Wednesday evening.
The big-bodied former receiver then went on to call the whole thing a “hoax” before continuing on his rant.
“I just felt like from Day 1, once I stepped on the field, once I put on the colors, he never liked me,” Benjamin said of Giants head coach Joe Judge. “He didn’t even want me there. I don’t want to bash anyone, but I just felt like Joe has had it out to get me since I walked into that team building. It never felt right. The guy never even had a conversation with me until the day they signed me.”
The 28th pick of the Carolina Panthers in the 2014 NFL Draft, Kelvin Benjamin got off to a tremendous start in his career. The Florida State product recorded 73 receptions for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. Unfortunately, a torn ACL cost him his sophomore campaign and seemingly derailed the former wide receiver’s career.
After a bout with injuries and conditioning issues, Benjamin found himself exiled from the NFL following stints with the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs following the 2018 season. He ultimately signed with the Giants earlier in the offseason to play tight end.
Benjamin spoke on how Judge used those conditioning issues to go after him ahead of the veteran’s release on Wednesday.
Apparently the head coach said that the Giants were going to fine Benjamin for being 17 pounds overweight. Making the transition from wide receiver to tight end, it stands to reason that he would gain some weight.
“I was like: What do you want me to do?” Benjamin said. “I’m like: I’m trying everything I can to be here. You won’t even let me on the field to show what I can do. I played receiver at 268 [pounds] and I almost had 1,000 yards [in 2016]. So why do you want me to come back at 251 at tight end?”
If this weren’t enough, Benjamin also took a parting shot at Judge. He was not too subtle about it.
“I have a perspective on Joe Judge,” Benjamin said. “He’s not a coach that can ever win a Super Bowl because he sits there and cusses all day. You can tell he’s one-sided about everything. He’s a know-it-all. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. We all can learn from each other. We’re all humans at the end of the day. The true colors will come out.”
There’s nothing like a drama-filled summer around the NFL. The situation between Kelvin Benjamin and his now-former Giants team adds another layer to it. And this likely isn’t the end of the back-and-forth.