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August 14, 1996 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-08-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

SPORTS
SGiant rookie and rookie Giant
Wolverine alum wide receiver Toomer displays size, skill

Wednesday August 14, 1996 - The Michigan Daily - 15

By James Goldstein
Daily Sports Editor
Amani Toomer has picked up right
from where he left off.
Last time Michigan football fans saw
Toomer was December 28 at the Alamo
W owl when he hauled in a Brian Griese
ass for a touchdown in the waning sec-
onds of Michigan's disappointing 22-20
loss to Texas A & M in Toomer's final
game as a Wolverine.
More than seven months later, Toomer
has put out the same results - with the
same No. 18 jersey, but with a different
team and a different league.
Toomer - drafted by the New York
Giants in the second round (34th overall)
- quickly has found familiar grounds.
The end zone.
While it wasn't the grassy Michigan
Stadium, Toomer showed no problems
with the artificial turf of the
Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ last
Saturday.
In the Giants' second pre-season
game, against the Baltimore Ravens, the
6-foot-4-inch wide receiver scored two
touchdowns - one on a 94-yard kickoff
return and the other on a 37-yard over-
se-shoulder catch in the left corner of

the end zone.
Toomer finished the day with four
receptions on 79 yards. Not bad for a
rookie in his second game of the pre-sea-
son.
"I came in here pretty much not know-
ing what to expect," Toomer told the
Michigan Daily. "Only things I expected
is what I heard from other players. It's
longer and a lot more stressful. People
play at a much higher level and to com-
pete, you have to be mentally into it at all
times."
But it's not only in the games when he
has to be focused; it's in the actual
preparation, too.
"Practices are a lot faster," Toomer
said. "Not only the plays are faster, but
so is the pace because we are only out
(on the practice field) for two hours. In
Michigan, we would be out there for two
and one-half or three hours. Here, it's
just a quicker thing"
But Toomer's last coach, Michigan's
Lloyd Carr, says he should have no prob-
lem with the practices. Car said if he
shows the same work ethic as he did at
Michigan, then it should be a smooth
transition.
"Toomer is blessed with great size and

is going to be an outstanding pro
because he works hard and plays hard,"
Carr said. "He is a physical player and
has advantages that other guys just don't
have."
Carr saw Toomer use those advan-
tages for 758 yards on 44 receptions and
seven touchdown grabs last year. And
those numbers would have definitely
been higher since Toomer was constant-
ly double-teamed. His best year was in
1994 when he had 54 receptions for
1096 yards and six touchdowns. And he
added a touchdown each in his last two
years on punt returns.
That was in Michigan Stadium with
the 106,000-plus crowd going nuts. Now
he is going to play in a stadium with fans
just as crazy. But there's one thing the
"Big House" has that the Meadowlands
lacks - the marching band.
"The only thing that I am really going
to miss is the band," Toomer said. "I used
to like to listen to the band during the
games - with the drums going and
playing the Victors. It got me going."
While Toomer hasn't spoken to mem-
bers of last year's Michigan offense and
rookies in the NFL - Mercury Hayes,
(New Orleans Saints), Tshimanga

Former Michigan wide receiver Amani Toomer has moved to the greener pastures
of the NFL. Now a member of the New York Giants, Toomer has already excelled.
Biakabutuka (Carolina Panthers) or Jay Toomer is pleased with the smooth tran-
Riemersma (Buffalo Bills) - he has sition.
closely kept in touch with senior center "It's a good start for me,"Toomer said.
Rod Payne. Payne and Toomer came to "I'm really excited to try something new
Michigan together in the same recruiting and fulfill a dream. I always had a dream
class. of playing in the NFL. It's going to be
But so far at the Giants training camp, interesting how I do next year."

Panthers break off talks with former
Michigan running back Biakabutuka

CH HARLOTTE (AP) - The
Carolina Panthers are getting tough
ith holdout Tshimanga Biakabutuka,
le rookie's agent said.
Carl Poston said Biakabutuka, the
Panthers' first-round draft pick,
received a letter Friday from general
manager Bill Polian saying the team
was withdrawing its previous offer and
% ending negotiations.
"It's to the point where anyone who
ame in now wouldn't be able to help us
ainst Atlanta," team president Mike
lcCormack said Friday. 'There's just
not enou'gh time. If he had come in yes-
terday, I don't think he'd be ready. No
one would."
The Panthers face the Atlanta
Falcons on Sept. 1 in their regular sea-
son onener.

Polian agreed with McCormack,
saying Biakabutuka could not be effec-
tive against the Falcons if he started
practice now.
Biakabutuka,
reached at his
parents home in
Canada, said he
was not con-
cerned about the
situation.
"If negotia-
tions are off,
they're off." he
Blakabutuka told The
Observer. "If
they don't want me, it's time to move
otn."
Biakabutuka repeated his claim that
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all clubs, businesses, and
organizations.

he will sit out the season if necessary.
"If it comes down to that, I'm ready
to face it," he said. "I've got to stay
strong, and I'm going to stay strong."
Biakabutuka has been a holdout for
three weeks. He already has missed 26
practices and two exhibition games.
Polian said the extended holdout
was decreasing Biakabutuka's value.
The Panthers had offered him a
seven-year, $12.55 million contract
with $5.1 million in bonuses and per-
formance-based incentives.
Earlier in the neck. Pollan and
Poston met face-to-face for the first
time since the holdout began, leading to
speculation the dispute might be
resolved. But talks fizzled and neither
side expressed optimism following the
meeting.

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