Defensive end Justin Tuck, a former captain for the Giants and a key member of two Super Bowl-winning teams, announced his plans to retire on Monday after 11 NFL seasons, nine of which were spent with Big Blue.
“Once I really nailed down that I was going to retire, it was almost like a weight off my shoulders. I knew that it was the right decision. It’s just the right time for me and my family, and I leave with very few regrets.”
>> SOCIAL REAX TO TUCK ANNOUNCEMENT
A third-round draft choice (74th overall) in 2005, Tuck started 90 of 127 regular-season games with the Giants from 2005-13, climbing all the way up to sixth on the franchise’s all-time sacks list with 60.5. Tuck was a two-time Pro Bowler in 2008 and 2010 and was selected first-team All-Pro in 2008.
He will be long remembered for his Super Bowl heroics.
Tuck sacked quarterback Tom Brady twice during the Giants’ 17-14 victory over the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. In the rematch four years later, it was Tuck who, now wearing a captain’s patch, got to Brady again and recorded another pair of sacks as the Giants claimed their fourth Lombardi Trophy with a 21-17 triumph over New England. Only Hall of Famer Charles Haley has more sacks in Super Bowl history with 4.5 to Tuck’s four.
“For me, it’s not one play, it’s not one game, it’s not even a Super Bowl -- the thing I will remember most is the camaraderie in the locker room, the friendships with teammates,” Tuck said. “I rarely call them teammates because they’re brothers. We just had such a great run and such a great group of guys.
“I’ve had phone calls and text messages to the point where my phone kind of froze there for a little while, from guys just saying ‘congratulations’ and ‘you did it the right way’ and ‘I wouldn’t be the player I am [without you]’ or whatever it may be -- that’s what I’ll remember. I’ve never been a guy to kind of hang onto a play or a game or whatever it may be. Obviously we had some great ones, but it’s the relationships.”
Tuck, who spent the last two seasons with the Oakland Raiders, made the announcement on his Facebook page with the following statement:
“After months of praying and careful consideration, I have decided to retire from the game of football. I've had 11 great years and honestly I leave with very few regrets.
“I'm thankful to my family and close friends for their unwavering support. My beautiful wife and kids have dedicated their lives to being my closest support system and I'm eternally grateful.
“I want to thank the New York Giants and the Oakland Raiders for giving me a place I could call home all of these years. The Mara, Tisch, and Davis families, I'm forever in your debt. To my coaches: thanks for having me ready at every stage - the Super Bowls, Pro Bowls, you name it – thank you for teaching me about professionalism, preparation, and the pursuit of perfection. To my teammates: thank you for always going to battle with me each and every gameday, but more importantly, thanks for being my brothers for life.
“And lastly, the FANS. What an incredible environment you've created for me over the years to call a workplace. You all have been so supportive of me and my family, and without you I would have no game to play. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“This isn’t a good-bye, my family and I will continue our charitable work with Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy and we look forward to continuing to give back to communities that have given so much to us. God Bless.”