Justin Tuck was a Giant for one more day, and he stepped right back into his role as captain.
The defensive end used his retirement speech Friday to not only reflect on the past but talk about the future of the franchise.
“I’m tired of what I’ve seen from the New York Giants the last two years, three years, and I was a part of it,” he said of the consecutive losing seasons. “Maybe I faltered in my ways of being a better leader and allowed some things to go on that didn’t necessarily have to go on. But I say this, I am super-excited about what’s next. I’m super-excited about what I’ve seen from this young group of guys.”
Tuck, who played for nine seasons with the Giants and was a key member of the two Super Bowl teams before playing for the Raiders in 2014-15, signed a one-day contract with the team to retire as a member of the organization. While he did not directly address the incoming rookie class, he did speak to them in his speech. He even gave a shout-out to first-round pick Eli Apple, who had called him earlier in the week to pick his brain about what it takes to be successful in New York.
Tuck’s advice to Apple: Focus on football. “Being in New York can be overwhelming,” Tuck said. “This place embraces a winner, so go win.”
Tuck certainly did that.
He also gave Giants coach Ben McAdoo — himself a rookie — some advice he learned from Tom Coughlin.
“A lot of the young guys now look at coaches and want them to be their best friend,” Tuck said. “Coach McAdoo, don’t be the players’ best friend. The one thing I learned from Coach Coughlin is I am going to push you and I’m going to push you and I’m going to push you and I don’t care if you don’t like it. The one thing he demanded and he got because he deserved it was the respect of his players. We didn’t like Coach Coughlin, but you’d better not say anything bad about him. Not in my presence.”
Tuck said he didn’t want to see his retirement ceremony referred to as “Justin Tuck Day.” He preferred to think of it as just another day in Giants history. Clearly, the two are intertwined.
Tuck will attend the Wharton School of Business and pursuing his MBA, but he vowed to remain close to the team.
“I’m around,” he said. “If they need me in any capacity, I’m willing to help out.”
Always the captain.