Dave Tollefson, the scrappy defensive lineman who once described himself as a pigeon flying amongst eagles such as Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, announced his retirement FRiday. Although he did not finish his career with the Giants, he won two Super Bowl rings with the team and chose to symbolically retire as a member of the Giants.
"I wanted to make sure Tom [Coughlin] knew and the Maras and Tisches knew how much it meant to me," Tollefson said of his five seasons in New York. "They gave me the shot. If it wasn't for what they did for me, who knows where I'd be now. I have three kids [including his third son, who is due in April] and a wife that I love. To be able to provide for them is something that I couldn't even imagine in my wildest dreams as far as the way we live our lives. I'm indebted to coach and the Maras and the Tisches for doing that for me."
Tollefson was one of the most popular Giants players during his tenure. He was originally drafted by the Packers and was signed by the Giants off the Raiders' practice squad early in the 2007 season. In 2012, he played for the Raiders. He did not play in the NFL in 2013, which gave him a taste of retirement in an unofficial capacity.
"You hear it all the time when guys retire, that they're not going to miss the game, they're going to miss the locker room," he said. "I know, for sure, I'm going to miss the locker room and those guys, but the great thing is the relationships I made playing with the Giants. I talk to those guys all the time. I talk to Osi and Tuck weekly, Strahan still, Eli [Manning]. You build relationships that I've built with the Giants, they become lifetime deals, you know?"
Tollefson said he might have to become a coach so he can win a third Super Bowl ring and each of his children will have one. But, he said, he has no definite plans other than a few surgeries to take care of the physical toll football put on his body.
"I'm looking at it as a little bit of a halftime for me," he said. "I had this great game plan for the first half of my life and it worked out great, playing pro football and everything, but now the game has changed a little bit, so I have to re-adjust. I've taken this last year off and I'll probably take another year off, enjoy the time with the kids. I've been Mr. Mom, taking them to school and picking them up and doing that. I don't really know yet. I still have time to kind of figure that out. It's not only a new chapter but maybe a new book in the Tollefson story."