David Diehl, the versatile offensive lineman who played four of the five positions along the line and was one of the last remaining players to have been part of the Giants' last two Super Bowl championship teams, announced his retirement Friday after 11 NFL seasons.
Diehl considered retiring after the 2012 season because of a knee injury, but his daughter Addison, now 7, convinced him to play one more season. "She wants me to play forever," said Diehl, 33.
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But even she thought it was time for her dad to step away from the game this time. She accompanied him to the Giants' training facility to tell team president John Mara that she "allowed" her father to retire.
"It's not very easy for my daughter to talk about me retiring and not playing football," Diehl said. "The Giants are just as much family to her as they are to me."
"She's been going to the games and at 7 years old, she understands everything. She understands the game and the players and how important it is to play in the NFL. For her, my stepping away from something she loves as much as I do is not an easy thing."
Diehl, a fifth-round pick in 2003, missed only 12 games in his 11 seasons. He was a starter on the Giants' winning teams in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI and was selected to the 2009 Pro Bowl.
"I love football," Diehl said. "I love being in the game, I love watching film, I love doing all of that and I'm going to miss that aspect of it. But I know I'm ready to start the new and next chapter of my life.
"I'm ready to not only be a bigger part of my daughter's life, but I'm ready to spread my knowledge and help other people with the game and continue to do stuff throughout our community and charity work and be involved with the New York Giants in any way possible.
"I've accomplished everything I could possibly dream of as a football player. If in 2003, anyone would have said that Dave Diehl, a fifth-round draft pick out of Illinois, would win two Super Bowls, play in the Pro Bowl and win every single Giant award possible, people would have said you're crazy. I have a lot to be proud of."
Diehl started his first 120 regular-season games and seven playoff games in his career, the longest such streak by a Giants player since the 16-game season started in 1978.
Diehl played in 164 regular-season games, tied with quarterback Phil Simms for 12th on the team's all-time list. Diehl played every position except center, starting 65 games at left tackle, 42 at left guard, 27 at right guard and 26 at right tackle. In the playoffs, Diehl started 10 games at left tackle and one at left guard.
"When I think of David Diehl, what comes to mind is his indomitable spirit," coach Tom Coughlin said. "He got the most out of his God-given ability, and that's the best way that you can judge any individual."
"He took the talent that he had and he used it to the extreme, to the utmost of his ability. What more can you ask of the guy?"
Quarterback Eli Manning said: "He played so many different positions along the offensive line and never complained and never made an excuse. He was a guy who practiced in training camp and was prepared to play right tackle and then all of a sudden in the middle of the season, it's, 'Hey, now you have to go play left tackle.' He just went over there and did it. He never made an excuse and he's never looked for a reason [to make one]. He just did his job and did it well for a long time."