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There’s No Crying in Football Matt Dodge, Even if You Played A Role in One Of The Truly Epic Late-Game Collapses in NFL History

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Poor guy. Matt Dodge, the punter of the New York Giants who got chewed out by his head coach last Sunday for not punting the ball out of bounds on the final play of regulation, definitely screwed up when he allowed DeSean Jackson to have an opportunity for a game-winning punt return as time expired. But let’s be real – anytime you allow 28 fourth quarter points, no one guy should be the scapegoat. The Giants made significant miscues in all three phases of the game during their epic collapse. Unfortunately for Dodge, he was made the poster boy for the historic meltdown thanks to the timeless footage of head coach Tom Coughlin yelling at Dodge, clearly saying ‘you’ve got to kick that out of bounds!’

Dodge joined WFAN in New York to talk about if there’s any truth to the rumor that Coughlin kicked him out of the locker room and off the team in the immediate aftermath of last Sunday’s loss, how it means a lot to him to have a veteran like Deon Grant stick up for him in front of the media, how he didn’t at all feel disrespected by Coughlin chewing him out on the field for the whole world to witness, how he plans to put this game behind him and do a better job in the Giants final two critical regular season games, and how he admits that he cried for a moment in the locker room after the game.

On if there’s any truth to one report coming out of Philadelphia that Tom Coughlin told him after the game that he was no longer with the Giants and to get out of the locker room:

“Well I’m still at the facility so it’s obviously false. Nothing like that happened. It was kind of humorous when I heard it this morning.”

On veteran teammate Deon Grant standing up for him before the media onslaught ensued last Sunday:

“It felt great. I think anyone who knows football knows that one play doesn’t define a game. It was an unfortunate thing to happen, and a crazy way to end the game, but it felt great to know one of the veterans had the rookie punter’s back. It was awesome.”

On his thoughts in retrospect about being chewed out by Coughlin on the field, on camera, for all to see:

“Well right when it happened I ran right to the sideline because I knew I had to own up to it. No one’s more upset with me after that play than I was, and I don’t blame him at all for being emotional in a game like that where you needed to get the job done and you didn’t. Of course he’s gonna be upset about it. I mean, I wasn’t offended at all. It wasn’t like I felt like I got singled out. It was just part of the game.”

On if Coughlin has apologized to him since Sunday:

“No, no, I don’t think there’s any need to. The punt was embarrassing enough for me. That’s just part of the game.”

On his mindset moving forward as the Giants try to fight their way to a playoff berth in the final two weeks:

“I’m excited about playing this week. I’m going to be in probably the coldest weather I’ve been in in my life growing up in North Carolina, so that’s going to be interesting. I mean, as long as I’m on the team I’m going to do my best to be the best punter that I can be. I can’t let a punt affect how this week goes. We’ve got a great opportunity to play this week, and try to win and try to get to the playoffs. So, that’s all I’m focused on.”

On if he was demonstrably nervous prior to the final punt last Sunday:

“I mean, I honestly wasn’t because I felt like I was having a good game, I was hitting good balls. It wasn’t a case where I had struggled all game and was not sure if I was going to be able to execute the punt. I had been putting the ball where I wanted to all night. It was just a case of I may have rushed it a little bit thinking they were bringing pressure being it was the last punt of the game. And the quality of the punt wasn’t there. But to say I was shaking on the sidelines, that wasn’t the case at all. I was convinced when we got the ball that we were going to go drive down the field and kick a field goal. That was my mindset.”

On if it’s true that he cried in the locker room after the game:

“I wish I could say I came in…but I definitely was overwhelmed for a couple seconds there. And then the special teams coach came and consoled me, and Lawrence Tynes was right there next to me. After that kind of passed, I talked to the media five minutes after that, and there was nothing visible, so…”

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