It seems safe to say that Kelvin Benjamin will not be looking back at his brief time with the New York Giants fondly. The veteran wide receiver-turned-tight end was cut by the team on the first day of training camp after what many on the scene say was a heated exchange between him and coach Joe Judge along with GM Dave Gettleman. Benjamin took the field with the team but was then met by Judge and Gettleman during warm-ups. Once that conversation was over, Benjamin took his helmet off and walked off the field.
"It was just like they were trying to sabotage me to get me out of there," Benjamin told NJ.com's Zack Rosenblatt on Wednesday evening of his release.
Benjamin -- who signed with the club back in May after a three-year NFL hiatus -- proceeded to call his brief stint with the Giants "a hoax" and criticized Judge, saying he isn't the type of coach that can lead New York to a Super Bowl. He also said that he felt like Judge never liked him and believes he "had it out to get me since I walked into that team building."
"I have a perspective on Joe Judge," Benjamin said. "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."
On Thursday, Judge wished Benjamin the best and said there was "no ill-will" toward the player. He also responded to Benjamin's accusation of him cussing all the time.
"Look, I got some colorful language at times," Judge told reporters. "I know how to clean it up at the right time. I don't curse in front of my wife, I'm not going to curse in front of your kids, your wife, grandmothers, my mother, whatever it is. To be honest, I can't specifically tell you exactly what it is, but it's a little bit different when you're out there, kind of in the heat of the moment, in practice, teaching -- sometimes colorful language happens. One thing I do have is a rule here: we're never going to attack anybody personally. So there are certain things, maybe cuss words, we're never going to direct at a player.
"There are certain times when you have to use something for emphasis, or something comes up and there's a certain amount of energy you have on the field at the time. However, we're never going to attack any player personally."
According to Benjamin, the issue surrounded the veteran's weight. He weighed in at 265 pounds at the end of minicamp in June and the Giants brass had told him to get down to 251 for training camp. Benjamin told Rosenblatt that he showed up to camp weighing in at 268 after putting on muscle. He passed the club's conditioning test on Tuesday and didn't hear anything regarding the team's unhappiness regarding his weight. When he went on the field on Wednesday, however, that's when the issue came to a head with Judge and Gettleman. Judge said the team was going to fine him for being 17 pounds overweight and that's when the conversation erupted. Benjamin also claims that Judge said he purposely didn't practice at times during minicamp, which he denied.
"To be honest, man, I just felt like it was all a hoax," Benjamin said of Giants tenure. "I felt like they didn't give me a chance. I finished the conditioning. I finished all of that. I did what I was supposed to do. Everybody in the building was telling me I looked great. They never wanted the narrative to be good about me.
"Dave was the one that got me here — and Dave knew exactly what went down. I'm a team guy. I've been on a winning team before. I get the politics in the league and stuff. But the thing with me is: Don't sit there and try to bash my game and let the story run wild. Just tell the truth. Be honest."
As for what's next for Benjamin, he told Rosenblatt that he plans to move back to Florida as his attempt at an NFL comeback was stopped before it could really even get off the ground.