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Will soon-to-be free agent Justin Tuck bow out with Giants?

Justin Tuck waves to the crowd following their

Justin Tuck waves to the crowd following their victory against the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium. (Dec. 29, 2013) Credit: Mike Stobe

If Sunday was the end, Justin Tuck made sure to channel everything that has made him one of the most memorable players in Giants history one final time at MetLife Stadium.

First came the defensive end's play on the field.

After hitting the ground headfirst on a third-quarter play, Tuck was tended to by trainers on the field and went to the sideline, where he remained for a couple of plays.

After he returned, with the Giants holding a 10-6 lead and the Redskins driving, he sacked quarterback Kirk Cousins and forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Linval Joseph at the Giants' 12-yard line. It was Tuck's 11th sack of a season in which he didn't miss a game.

Then there was his reaction to that play. Tuck took one of his trademark bows, a microcosm of a personality that has endeared him to many fans in his nine-year career as a Giant.

But now, after the Giants' 20-6 win over the Redskins in the season finale, the question is whether Tuck has taken his final bow in a Giants uniform.

Tuck, who will turn 31 in March, has the sixth-most sacks in franchise history (601/2). He was a valuable member of two championship teams. But now he'll be a free agent.

"There were periods in the game where you're looking at the clock and you're kind of looking at it like . . . there's not too much longer," said Tuck, who had six tackles and two sacks Sunday.

Safety Antrel Rolle said Tuck's performance showed the veteran still can play at a high level.

"He has a lot left," Rolle said. "He displayed that once again today. He's been a leader. He's been my leader. He's our captain. He's been my captain."

After the game, Tuck, standing at a podium in a flashy blue suit, made it clear he wants to play with the Giants in 2014. He's thrived here both on and off the field, but he acknowledged it's not his call.

"I really don't know," Tuck said when asked if he thinks he'll be back. "I think it's out of my hands. I think I did the best I can do to warrant being back, I guess. But like I always say, time will tell."

Tuck almost certainly will be playing football somewhere next season, but that might not be the case for another longtime Giant. David Diehl, an 11-year veteran and the longest-tenured current Giant, also will be a free agent. He said he will take a few weeks before deciding if he'll return for a 12th NFL season.

"Frankly, if this is it, I can definitely walk away with my head held high," said Diehl, who will require a second surgery on his injured thumb in the days to come.

He might want to play another season. The question is whether the Giants will want him back.

Said Diehl, "I can't see myself wearing another uniform."

New York Sports