EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Some of the biggest Giants were soaked today in the Ice Bucket Challenge that has swept the country.
Players Mathias Kiwanuka and Zak DeOssie performed the dousing after practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
“It’s cold,” Manning said. “It definitely takes your breath away for a little bit.”
It does for a good cause. There is no known cure of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), more commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. According to the ALS Association and its 38 chapters, approximately $4 million was donated between July 29 and Aug. 12, compared to $1.12 million during the same time period last year.
The Ice Bucket Challenge was the brainchild of Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player who is battling ALS. Millions of people, both famous and anonymous, have since accepted the challenge to have a bucket of ice water poured over their heads (or do it themselves) and in turn have challenged others to follow suit.
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Reese was challenged by Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith. “Thank you, Rick Smith, for the challenge for a great cause,” Reese said. “Let’s find a cure.”
In the spirit of the event, Reese then challenged Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman (the Giants’ former pro personnel director); Col. Greg Gadson, a vital member of the Giants family since 2007; and his daughter, Jasmyne.
“Dave, I have had people request that you wear a Speedo,” Reese said. “I don’t know how that will go, but that’s a request from some of your friends here.”
Actually, all of Gettleman’s friends here know how it would go and would never make such a request.
Coughlin was challenged by Bruce Beck, a sportscaster for New York’s WNBC. He them challenged NFL head coaches Gus Bradley (Jacksonville), John Fox (Denver), Mike Smith (Atlanta) and General Ray Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff who is a lifelong Giants fan.
“I am doing this in memory of a very good friend of mine by the name of Rick Murray, who fought ALS for seven years and passed away, but he was an inspiration to all that knew him,” Coughlin said. … “When John Mara got all the publicity for doing it out here, (Coughlin’s wife) Judy sent me an email and said, ‘This is a great cause, that was started by a young man who went to Boston College (where Coughlin was the head coach from 1991-93).’ She said, ‘I hope if you get the opportunity, it will give you a chance to recognize Rick Murray and his fight for life against ALS. It will give you a chance to say something very positive about trying to find some way that we can cure this ridiculously harmful disease.’”
Manning was challenged by … well, we’ll let him say.
“I was nominated by one of my biggest fans, Steve Broas, who has ALS,” Manning said. “Steve, I’m doing this for you. I’m going to accept this ice bucket challenge and afterwards I’d like to nominate a couple former players – Shaun O’Hara and Dave Diehl - to do the ice bucket challenge. Again, Steve, this is for you.”
Although he’s been immersed in training camp, Manning was aware of the Ice Bucket Challenge craze and wasn’t surprised when he was challenged.
“I’ve seen a number of people do it,” Manning said. “I saw Mr. Mara did it a few days ago, so I’ve seen it going on. I figured it was going to happen sometime, it was just a matter of time.”
Coughlin has often spoken of his admiration for Murray, whom he met on a trip to Ireland when he was coaching in Jacksonville. Murray had been a commander in the U.S. Navy. Although eventually confined to a wheelchair, Murray missed just one Jaguars home game from their debut in 1995 until his death in 2011.
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“He was an amazing guy and a great, great inspiration. I always felt when I came away from visiting with Rick that he had done me a great service, because his attitude was unbeatable. That’s what I think we all need to do about this ALS business. We’ve got to find a way. The great minds of this world have got to come together because this is a devastating, devastating disease and nobody, nobody would ever want to see anyone in that predicament.”
Thanks to the millions of dollars raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge, maybe someday we won’t.