“If it’s not called, it will be a black, gloomy day for the NFL,” Tuck said here today. “I don’t see how he’s not a shoo-in for a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
Tuck, who just completed his eighth season as a Giants defensive end, played the first three years of his career with Strahan, who is both his mentor and friend. Those two players and
Strahan, who is fifth on the NFL’s career list with 141.5 sacks and holds the single-season record with 22.5 in 2001, is eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time.
“I’ve seen that guy in his 15 years take over games,” Tuck said. “I wish I could have played with him when he was a younger stud. But I feel as though he is a definitely a shoo-in for a Hall of Fame. It’s well-deserved.
“You think about the success he had and playing on the teams he played on – he was a focal point for all those years and still being very successful. It’s a testament to how hard he worked and how talented he is.”
Tuck was here to attend a news conference in the Super Bowl XLVII Media Center to promote his participation in the second annual NFL Characters Unite Documentary, which the USA Network produced in partnership with the league. Tuck, Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Baltimore linebacker Jameel McClain and Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu (who did not attend the news conference) appear in the film, which is part of a larger effort to combat prejudice and discrimination. The film will debut on the USA Network on Friday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m.
Tuck, who is sixth on the Giants’ sack list with 49.5, credits Strahan with giving him a jump start when he joined the Giants as a third-round draft choice in 2005.
“Early in my career he really took me under his wing and showed me the ropes – not only on the field, but off,” Tuck said. “(He taught me) how to be successful in a place like New York. For me being from a small town like Kellyton, Alabama, it was very different from where I grew up. He understood that I needed to know how to take all this stuff in and still be very successful on the football field. Knowing my wishes and my thoughts about what I wanted to do off the field, he gave me some guidelines how to do both and be successful. He knows it and I have no reluctance to tell him the reason I’ve been successful in this league is because of his tutelage and his guidance.”
Bill Parcells, who led the Giants to two Super Bowl victories during his eight-year tenure as head coach, is also one of the 15 Hall of Fame finalists.