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Former WR Kelvin Benjamin entered the NFL out of Florida State in 2014 at 240 lbs. He then jumped to 265 during his time in the league and embraced a potential role as a tight end, landing him with the New York Giants for OTAs and practice in 2021.
His tenure there proved to be short-lived. Benjamin received news early into practice on Wednesday that he was being released from the team. At the start of practice, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Joe Judge approached Benjamin, and after that conversation, the tight end launched into a tirade about Judge.
Odd scene: Kelvin Benjamin walking off the field at the start of practice with Dave Gettleman following him. Benjamin had a conversation with Gettleman and Joe Judge a few minutes earlier pic.twitter.com/ox3doCwxqt— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) July 28, 2021
According to Yahoo Sports, Benjamin commented on the sophomore head coach during a media interview, and gave negative feedback about Judge’s style of commanding a team and called his own time spent trying out for the Giants a “hoax.”
“He didn’t even talk to me [Tuesday]. The day before practice, he didn’t bring all of this up,” revealed Benjamin, hinting that the sudden cut had been in the works for a while. “I just felt like the dude didn’t like me. Mr. Gettleman knew exactly what went down. Everybody in the building was telling me I looked great. I was feeling good. It’s crazy how they twisting the narrative about everything like it’s a joke. They make it seem like we don’t even matter. That’s the thing about humanity, man.”
Evaluated as a receiver capable of using his big frame and speed to outmatch DBs, Benjamin totaled 1,000+ receiving yards during his rookie year, placing him squarely within WR1 discussions entering his second season with the Carolina Panthers in 2015. Unfortunately, the former first-round receiver tore his ACL that season and has had a difficult stretch in the NFL ever since.
After his injury, Benjamin maintained a heavy stature and did not improve his hands even though film showed time and time again that he wasn’t keeping his hands stuck to a football. In 2018 he recorded a 9.0% drop rate, among the worst in the league.
Benjamin leveled more criticism during the interview, calling Judge out for an insensitivity to the weight requirements that the Giants have set for him, which he has disregarded. He is currently 17 lbs over that target weight.
“I have a perspective on Joe Judge,” said Benjamin, in outright frustration against the play caller. “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.”
As noted in the report and feedback, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman was the only one pulling for Benjamin to stay in MetLife. In fact, Gettleman actually drafted him in 2014 as the former general manager for the Carolina Panthers.
With 2017 first-round pick Evan Engram — who has similar issues dropping the ball — as the Giants’ primary tight end and free agent pickup Kyle Rudolph — who is nursing a lingering foot injury, some fans were hopeful that Benjamin would be an exciting addition to a diluted TE group in New York.
Instead, Benjamin will be headed in a new direction. He announced he has no intention of trying out for another NFL roster, effectively ending his turbulent 7-year span in the league.