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NY NEWSDAY: Coughlin snuffs out impromptu workouts


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Coughlin snuffs out impromptu workouts

Some players had planned drills away from stadium during NFL-penalty days off


A group of Giants who had planned informal workouts today and tomorrow canceled them after coach Tom Coughlin yesterday discouraged them from holding any organized activities for the rest of this week, one veteran player and another player's agent said.

Players had intended to make up for the two days of practice the Giants lost because of violations of offseason rules by practicing with quarterbacks, receivers, running backs and defensive backs at a field away from Giants Stadium.

It was not clear why Coughlin discouraged them, but he urged the players to enjoy their six-day break before returning June 1. One possible concern was the union would suspect Coughlin of being behind the planned practices, which he was not.

Also, players would have been taking a risk. If a player is injured in a non-supervised activity, he goes on the non-football injury list and is due no compensation, though the team can pay him at its discretion.

Collins a backup?

Raiders coach Norv Turner said Rich Gannon, not recently signed former Giant Kerry Collins, remains his starting quarterback. If that stays the case, it will come as a huge surprise to most of the football world, which assumed that Gannon would be cut next week after Collins signed. But Collins was aware Gannon might remain when he spoke to Raiders officials last week.

"Obviously, I've played a lot in this league and started a lot of games," he said. "But when I came here, they made it clear what the situation would be. I understood that Rich would be the starter and I will be the guy that's there if something happens to Rich."

Turner said Gannon endorsed the signing of Collins. But Gannon likely must agree to a restructuring of his contract, which calls for $7 million in salary this year, to clear cap room.

"Looking at other teams, a lot of them were backup roles, as this one is," Collins said. "This may have a little more long-term possibilities than the other situations I was looking at."

Collins is 31; Gannon is 38.

Hamilton pleads guilty

Keith Hamilton, a recently retired defensive tackle who ranks sixth on the Giants' games-played list, pleaded guilty Monday to possession of cocaine and could face six months in jail. Hamilton, who turned 33 yesterday, had rejected other, more lenient plea offers in the months following his arrest last May, in part to avoid a possible NFL suspension. But he retired in February after 12 seasons, making that concern moot.

Judge John Harper will sentence Hamilton on July 30 in Morristown, N.J., for possession of one gram of cocaine and driving with illegally tinted windows in Harding Township, N.J. The maximum penalty will be six months in jail, probation, the loss of a driver's license for six months and fines totaling $1,200. His attorney likely will argue for community service instead of jail time. In 1999, Hamilton pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence of cocaine.

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