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Tuck's shoulder injury prevented him from being a leader

Justin Tuck grimaces on the sideline during a

Justin Tuck grimaces on the sideline during a 2009 loss. (Dec. 27, 2009) Photo Credit: David Pokress

Justin Tuck’s shoulder injury didn’t just limit him on the field. It also took a toll on him as a leader.

The defensive end who has played most of the season with a torn labrum and will undergo surgery to repair it this week said he did not feel able to call out teammates for not giving their all when he was unable to do so himself due to his injury.

“It’s tough for me to say something to a guy or, I guess, lead a guy when I see something going on when I can’t lead by example,” Tuck said. “I didn’t feel like I had a right to kind of day some of the things that I wanted to say because I couldn’t practice 100 percent. For me, personally, it is tough to jump on some other guys for what he is doing when I am not able to do it myself.”

The Giants suffered a leadership void when Antonio Pierce was put on injured reserve in November. The also lost several other key voices and attitudes on defense, many of which were cited by players in the postgame locker room on Sunday afternoon.

Tuck said after his surgery, he intends to be back at 100 percent – as a player and a leader.

“I think it’s needed,” he said. “Not just from me. This team has been great when we had leadership by committee … I think we just have to do a better job as a group of leaders. That is when you start to see changes as far as how the young guys kind of approach certain situations.”

(Newsday Photo: David Pokress)

New York Sports