Just last week Leonard Marshall brought his neighbor’s young kids into the Giants’ fieldhouse after a training camp practice to show them the huge banners that hang from the ends of the building celebrating the four Super Bowl-winning teams. They are way too young to know Marshall for his playing career, but he made sure to point out where his name is printed on the rosters for the 1986 and 1990 teams.
“They understand what this is and they understand what’s going on,” Marshall said of brushing up the youngsters on some Giants history. “It was a good thing.”
Marshall won’t have to bring guests into the sanctity of the fieldhouse to see that kind of display any longer. The defensive lineman is one of seven men who will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor this season and one of five who were told of that distinction in a surprise ceremony led by co-owner John Mara in front of the current team after Tuesday’s practice.
“Now I can bring them to the stadium,” Marshall said of being able to reference his place in team lore.
Marshall and three former Giants running backs — Joe Morris, Ottis Anderson and Rodney Hampton — along with the team’s senior vice president of medical services Ronnie Barnes, who has been with the franchise for 47 years, were all on hand for the announcement of their enshrinements. Defensive back Jimmy Patton and halfback/receiver Kyle Rote are being included in the Ring of Honor posthumously.
The one thing all seven share is they were members of championship teams: Patton and Rote in 1956, Morris in 1986, Anderson and Marshall in 1986 and 1990; Hampton in 1990; and Barnes, who has been with the organization for all four of its Super Bowl victories. Morris, Marshall and Anderson increase to nine the number of players from the 1986 Super Bowl XXI championship team who are in the Ring of Honor.
While most of the current players admitted they were unaware of the inductees’ playing careers having been born long after all of them retired — Barnes received the loudest ovation and playfully threw his cap in the air as if graduating to a new level of recognition — their messages to the team at the end of practice rang deep. Marshall was especially on point for this year’s team when he spoke about the struggles the franchise had in the early 1980s before winning the team’s first Super Bowl in 1986, comparing it to the team’s recent losing seasons and what it took to turn things around then.
The additions increase the number of honorees in the Ring of Honor to 50. They will be formally added at halftime of the Sept. 26 Monday Night Football game against the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.
“This,” Hampton said, “proves that we are Giants forever.”