Contacting absentee running back Ron Dayne wasn't exactly on top of coach Jim Fassel's to-do list yesterday.
"That's not the first thing I tried to take care of when I walked in here," Fassel said, back at Giants Stadium after attending NFL meetings in Phoenix last week. "I've got guys here I'm worrying about right now."
As the second week of the Giants' off-season conditioning program began, Dayne remained the only unexcused absence from the "voluntary" workouts. Dayne is working out with a personal trainer, according to his agent, Terry Lavenstein.
Lavenstein has said Dayne believes he can better prepare for the upcoming season without the guidance of the Giants' strength and conditioning staff. Fassel has taken that criticism personally.
"I don't agree with that at all. I take offense to that," Fassel said. "Most every player around here has improved, including Ron Dayne. The guys I've hired, the guys who are here working, are outstanding. Sometimes an agent has no clue about ... building team chemistry."
Fassel was initially irked after Dayne told him last month he would attend the off-season program, then sent word through Lavenstein that he would not.
"If that's what he chooses, that's what he chooses," Fassel said. "There's a number of issues here. When I call a player, I want a return phone call."
The Giants would like to sign Jaguars free-agent running back Stacey Mack if they can do so at an affordable price.