Rhett Ellison, a steady veteran tight end for the Giants during the past three seasons, announced his retirement on Monday after an eight-year NFL career. He missed the final six games of the 2019 season because of a concussion he suffered in the Week 10 game against the Jets.
“There’s no way I could have told you that was going to be my last game, but it ended up being my last game,” Ellison told the team’s website. “But my mentality, just from having multiple injuries throughout my career, was you realize how short your time is on the field and you never really know when it’s going to end.”
Ellison, 31, had one year remaining on his contract. In three seasons with the Giants, he played in 40 games with 36 starts and caught 67 passes for 674 yards (10.1-yard average) and four touchdowns. Before that, he played five seasons with the Vikings.
His departure leaves a very young group at tight end for the Giants. That includes Evan Engram, who is recovering from foot surgery, and Kaden Smith, who helped replace both Engram and Ellison late in his rookie season.
Ellison’s father, Riki Ellison, was a linebacker in the NFL from 1983 to 1992 and won three Super Bowls with the 49ers.
“The past few weeks, it’s kind of been an emotional roller coaster,” Ellison told the team’s website. “But the overwhelming feeling I have is gratitude. Just thinking back to all the people in my life, even before I put pads on, that were able to nurture and grow the gifts God put into me and make this career possible. I think that was the biggest thing that was the fun part about the retirement process, which is reflecting on those people, thanking those people, reaching out and just the lessons they taught me, the tools they gave me for my life after football.”
The Giants have until Thursday to decide whether to tag defensive lineman Leonard Williams, and it appears that will be the only way to keep him off the free-agent market. NFL Network reported Monday that talks between the two sides on a contract are “not close.”
The Giants traded for Williams during the 2019 season, sending a third-round pick in the upcoming draft and another pick in 2021 to the Jets despite no guarantee that he’d remain with the Giants. General manager Dave Gettleman said at the NFL Combine last month that he would consider using the franchise or transition tag on Williams and acknowledged that if he signed elsewhere, “I’d get killed.”