Seubert, a Giants offensive lineman for 10 years before his release late last month, returned to the Timex Performance Center today. He received the 2010 Hope D. Johnson BBI Giants Player of the Year Award presented by the folks at Big Blue Interactive, an online community for fervent Giants fans. Johnson was an active contributor to BBI before her death in 2009.
The award was presented on a far corner of the practice field, but fellow linemen Chris Snee, David Diehl, Kareem McKenzie, Kevin Boothe and Mitch Petrus, plus quarterback Eli Manning and line coach Pat Flaherty, all came out to support their former teammate.
"This award does mean a lot, but the guys who are out here, my teammates, Eli, Coach Flats (Flaherty), Coach Jack (Bicknell), Coach (Tom) Coughlin – they're the ones that get everything going," Seubert said. "A guy gets hurt, they have a guy ready to play the next position. Those are the guys that truly deserve the credit for making players who they are. I was just blessed to be a New York Giant for 10 years. It's my life. It's my family's life. It's been truly fun."
Seubert, who was accompanied by his young sons Hunter and Isaac, hopes to resume his career this year. But he is not physically ready to play. Seubert underwent surgery in January after dislocating his knee in the Giants' season finale in Washington.
"I'm just going week-to-week," Seubert said. "I saw the doctor yesterday. I'm improving so hopefully I can start running here in a couple weeks and once I start running, the pounding and stuff allows me to see what I need to do to play. I'm just taking my time, making sure I'm doing it right. I'm not going to push it. I want to play football. I love playing the game, but I also have to think about my body and my family. We'll see how I feel when the time comes.
"A few teams have called. But basically, I want to clear a physical, so what's the point of running all over the country seeing teams? I told them, 'Let's get healthy and see what happens?'"
Even if he never plays another game, Seubert can certainly be proud of his career. He joined the Giants as an undrafted rookie in 2001. Seubert became a starter the following year. He played in 104 regular season games and in eight postseason contests. Seubert won a Super Bowl ring and was named a first-team All-Pro by Sports Illustrated in 2010.
Along the way, he overcame a devastating triple fracture in his right leg in 2003 that forced him to miss the entire 2004 season.
Seubert admits it was difficult when general manager Jerry Reese called him into his office and told him he was being released.
"It's always hard," Seubert said. "I've been here 10 years; I haven't been cut once. This is my first time ever being cut. You see guys come and you see guys go. It's the part of the business that nobody likes. Like I said from day one, no hard feelings for the New York Giants. This is my family. My kids love coming here. My kids love the game of football because the Giants gave me a job for the last 10 years. I'm grateful for the Mara family, the Tisch family. It's been a true blessing to be in one organization for so long. I thought I would've gotten cut 10 years ago, when I was a rookie. For some reason I stuck around for this long and it's been truly fun."
Few if any players enjoyed playing the game and hanging around the locker room, trainer's room or equipment room more than Seubert. When the lockout ended and players were allowed to return to the Timex Performance Center, Seubert was the first player through the door.
Given his love for the game, it's not surprising that Seubert misses being around it every day.
"You miss football," he said. "But I still talk to the guys. I'll watch practice today. I still have the love to play the game of football. That's the hardest part. I'm watching the preseason games – I didn't have any feelings. I have three kids now - Hunter, Isaac and a newborn Hailey, who's four months old. I truly enjoy my family. I figured I'd have a little more free time on my hands, but I really don't – rehab, lifting, my children. It's been a good run, so we'll just see what happens."
Seubert was as outgoing as always, but he admitted it felt a little strange to visit his old haunt.
"It's just weird," he said. "You're coming back, you see all of the guys you used to practice with and now I'll be sitting here watching them. I'm not a shy guy, so I'm not going to worry about that. You want the pads on, to be out here practicing, but obviously I can't do that. Maybe I'll try and trip someone running down the sideline."
Seubert's presence has been missed on the field in one sense. He could always be counted on to instigate the first fight during training camp. Without Seubert around to stir things up, this year's camp has been fight-free.
"You don't have to have fights in football," Seubert said. "It's something that Keith Hamilton taught me back when I was a young kid. Obviously, I didn't pass that trait on to anybody."
Seubert is working to improve his knee daily at Excel Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Waldwick, N.J. and is weightlifting at nearby Overtime Sports.
"It's a fulltime job," Seubert said. "That's my job right now, rehab. That's what I'm doing."
He hopes to progress far and fast enough to be healthy enough to play six weeks into the season. Seubert could retire and do something else, but after hurting his knee he was determined not to let an injury end his career. That has not changed.
"I think it's just me," he said. "I can't let this say I'm done. If this wants to say I'm done, fine, but I'm going to give everything I have to prove that this isn't going to end it. We'll see. I'm truly happy. Either way it goes, I'm happy. I'll still be going to games, still be watching."
Seubert said he will be sit in the stands for Monday's preseason game against Chicago. He eventually hopes to return to the field. If he does, and it's with another team, Seubert will still be a Giant at heart.
"Wellington Mara once said, 'Once a Giant, always a Giant,'" Seubert said. "I was a New York Giant for 10 years, so it's kind of hard not to say that I'm still a New York Giant. I'm rehabbing like I want to play football and when the time comes, we'll see what happens. But that time's not here yet. I have to go back to work like I did a couple of years ago, rehabbing my leg. I'm giving it everything I've got. We're going to see what happens in about two months and I'll make the decision then."