Photos of Safety Tyler Sash's career with the Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –
They called themselves "The Crew."
Mark Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger, Henry Hynoski and Tyler Sash joined the Giants together in 2011, the first three as rookie free agents, and Sash as a sixth-round draft choice. They immediately bonded in training camp, and when the season began they shared an apartment in nearby Clifton, N.J.
"At one point, Tyler was (rooming) with me, and Henry was with Spencer," Herzlich said today. "But all four us, we all lived together the whole time."
Although Herzlich is the only one of the four still with the team, they remained close. Yesterday, Paysinger, who now plays for the Miami Dolphins, called Herzlich with the worst possible news: Sash was dead at 27.
"Then I got a text after from one of his friends back home letting me know what had happened," Herzlich said. "Then Spencer and Henry, we got on the phone together."
An autopsy was to be conducted on Wednesday to determine the cause of death.
The 2011 season was a time to savor for the four players, none of whom was yet 25. Each of them overcame the odds faced by low draftees and free agents to make the roster and stay on it for the entire season (though Herzlich was injured at the end of the year). They all earned world championship rings when the Giants defeated New England in Super Bowl XLVI.
But while the other three players stayed with the Giants for at least four years, Sash played just one more season before he was released at the end of training camp in 2013. He never hooked on with another team.
"I remember it very well," Herzlich said of the day Sash was waived. "Tyler had come back, and his second year and he played through. Cut day is always tough. He called me and told me what happened. I said, 'We're all here.' Henry said we were 'The Crew,' so getting the crew together. It was, 'We're here, we're always brothers.' We stayed in touch for a long time.
"He was bad. But I don't think he was completely dejected. He was 'Okay, I'm going to get back out on another team.' He was like, 'Okay, this is not the end of my playing career.' It ended up being that way, unfortunately. I don't think anyone is happy on cut day. I'm not happy on cut day even if I make the team, because you see your buddies leave. I don't know. I talked to him a thousand times after that."
Herzlich last saw Sash in March.
"I went out to Des Moines, I was doing some speaking engagement out there," Herzlich said. "He stopped by with his girlfriend. He seemed happy and healthy. I would have never imagined, at that point, that anything would happen.
"He went back home to Iowa. I think he was in Oskaloosa, where he grew up. He had a house out there, a dog, a family, friends. He was doing some announcing for Hawkeyes football. I know last season he was doing that."
All of the Giants who knew Sash were shaken by the news of his death. Coach Tom Coughlin spoke about his former player before taking questions at his news conference today.
"I haven't seen Tyler in a couple of years," Coughlin said. "But one of the players texted me yesterday afternoon, and I didn't see that coming, obviously. I know a lot of our players have responded. It's very sad. Most difficult to try and understand. But nevertheless, our condolences go out to his family and his friends, and all those that cared for him. He was an outstanding teammate, now. During the time he was here, the players really enjoyed Tyler Sash. So I'm dumbfounded by this, and I'm very sad."
So was Eli Manning.
"Coach Coughlin came in and told me about it," Manning said. "Just shocked, a teammate, so young. Feel like he was just here. Obviously, thinking about his family and everybody who knew him. Lost a good guy."