"You know, I haven't spent a lot of time thinking or talking about that," Coughlin said in his news conference at the NFL scouting combine. "I don't know that there would be interest on the part of the Giants. I don't know that there won't be but I don't know if there will be."
Afterward, when asked about a possible reunion, Coughlin didn't want to say much else about his former wide receiver, who was suspended and reportedly often fined for breaking team rules while with the team. Burress currently is serving a two-year prison sentence on weapons charges after shooting himself in the leg at a New York nightclub in November 2008.
General manager Jerry Reese has said the team will investigate the idea of bringing Burress back. The receiver is expected to be released from prison in June and several Giants have said they would welcome their former teammate back.
"A little bit," Coughlin later said when asked if he has thought at all about the idea of Burress returning. "Not much. There may be some further discussion. There hasn't really been any lengthy discussions to this point."
When asked if he is more open to the idea than he was a year ago, Coughlin said he didn't want to comment any further.
Coughlin did say he talked to both players. The two safeties appeared on a Miami radio show last month, where Rolle said Coughlin could loosen up a bit, and Phillips said he still was trying to figure out who Coughlin is outside of his coaching style.
Coughlin did joke that Rolle probably would not have liked the stricter Coughlin from the years prior to the Giants' Super Bowl season in 2007. Coughlin made a concerted effort to show a more human side that year, and the team flourished that season.
"He should have seen me a few years ago," Coughlin cracked. "That's my response."
Coughlin was in a good mood and gave updates on a few of his injured players.
He said defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, who missed all but four games with a neck injury, is progressing well but has not cleared the final hurdle toward playing again. Coughlin said Kiwanuka did avoid surgery, a positive sign.
"Seems to be doing pretty well," Coughlin said of Kiwanuka, whose contract will expire. "I don't think the final hurdle has been overcome but the arrow is in the right direction. It's been positive."
He also said guard Rich Seubert is recovering well from surgery on a dislocated kneecap, ligament and tendon damage. Coughlin said that center is a position that may need to be addressed in the draft because both Shaun O'Hara (foot) and Adam Koets (knee) are coming off surgeries.
The Giants draft 19th overall and there should be plenty of offensive linemen -- mostly offensive tackles -- available.
Coughlin also does not anticipate his contract negotiations to become an issue. Team president John Mara said Thursday that he has had some casual conversations with Coughlin's agent about a potential extension. Coughlin is entering the final year of his deal and Mara said an extension likely will be completed sooner rather than later.
"It's been said that it'll get done, and it'll get done," Coughlin said. "For John to say that -- it'll get done."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.