Justin Tuck had watched the way the Giants did business the past nine years. The way they dealt with teammates and friends such as Osi Umenyiora, Barry Cofield, Kevin Boss, Steve Smith and Shaun O'Hara, just to name a few. He learned that when it came to contracts and free agency, the Giants were all about business and they did not let personal affections or past contributions warm their cold decision-making hearts.
Yet until Thursday, Tuck thought he would be the exception.
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"I think we all did," Tuck told Newsday in a phone interview Friday, his first full day as an Oakland Raider. "I'd be lying if I told you I didn't think I was going to retire as a Giant . . . They did what they feel is best for them. You can't fault it. It's a crappy part of this business."
Tuck said it was difficult to juggle the various emotions he was feeling after signing a two-year, $11-million contract with the Raiders. Part of him was excited about his new future on the West Coast, another part hurt that the Giants turned their backs on him. He called them Thursday with the Raiders' offer in hand expecting that they would increase their pre-free agency offer to him, believed to be a two-year deal worth $6 million. Had they, he might still be a Giant.
"They did not," he said.
Tuck said he didn't expect any frustrations or ill feelings he has toward the Giants to linger. "I don't think it's going to take me that long because I understand it," he said.
He added that he isn't thinking about retiring as a Giant when his final days in the NFL are at hand, but he doesn't expect to still feel bitter.
"When the time comes to worry about retiring or the Ring of Honor or anything like that, I'll worry about that then," he said. "You do yourself an injustice by holding grudges or being down about it."
Overarching all of his emotions, he said, is a sense of gratitude for nine seasons and two Super Bowl championships in New York.
"I've had an opportunity to talk to coach Coughlin, Eli [Manning] . . . coach [Robert] Nunn, Ronnie Barnes, a lot of the guys there," Tuck said. "They had the utmost respect for how I handled the whole situation and they continue to tell me that there is nobody in that building that didn't want me back."
And yet . . .
"I've had a great run here," he said. "Obviously if I had it my way, it would still be going, but that's not the case."