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New Raider Justin Tuck feels right at home at MetLife Stadium

Former Giant and current Oakland Raiders defensive end

Former Giant and current Oakland Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck (91) looks on during the first half of a game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. Credit: Lee S. Weissman

Justin Tuck said playing at MetLife Stadium in a uniform other than the Giants' was not as strange as he thought it would be, what with the building decorated in Jets green.

"It was just like any other away stadium," the defensive end said Sunday after his first game as a Raider resulted in a 19-14 loss to the Jets.

Well, not exactly. On the wall just outside the door to the visitors' locker room were painted images of the Giants' four Lombardi Trophies, two of which Tuck helped them win.

Tuck, 31, had hoped to extend his nine-year stay with the Giants after 2013, but the team's interest appeared to be lukewarm. He ended up settling for a two-year, $11-million deal from Oakland.

Whatever frustration he felt about how it unfolded has faded since March, and Tuck insisted he has no hard feelings.

So will he watch the Giants' opener against the Lions?

"I might," he said. "It's 'Monday Night Football.' It depends on if my wife wants to go out to dinner. Monday is normally our date night, so it depends. But I'll definitely tune in in some regard.

"I think everybody thinks I root against them. I don't. I've got a lot of friends over there and always will have fond memories of me as a Giant and I'll always root those guys well."

Tuck had an eventful debut for the Raiders, notably on the 5-yard shovel pass from Geno Smith to Chris Johnson that gave the Jets their first touchdown of the season.

Recognizing what Smith was about to do, Tuck waved his arms to knock down the ball, but it sneaked by him. "I was [close],'' he said, "but almost doesn't count."

That was in the second quarter. In the third, Tuck left the game briefly after landing on a rib.

"My clumsiness," he said.

In the fourth, he was slow to get up after watching helplessly from the backfield as Chris Ivory ran 71 yards for the Jets' other touchdown. Was he hurt, or merely discouraged?

"I just got a helmet right to the chest, so it knocked the wind out of me a little bit," he said.

Tuck did finish with five tackles, but all in all, it was a tough day at the office. "We just didn't make enough plays up front," he said.

It didn't help that the Raiders had to spend much of the afternoon chasing Geno Smith.

"He's able to keep plays alive with his feet and then make plays downfield with his feet," Tuck said. "I think that was a huge part of their success today. He really kept us off balance as far as what we wanted to do on third downs."

Tuck said he already feels like a Raider and that although it might "take a while," he believes Oakland can be a good team eventually.

"One play here or there and we win that football game and nobody's talking about the Same Old Raiders," he said. "Everybody's saying, 'Oh, man, they brought in these guys and they looked good today.' ''

Tuck grew into his leadership position as a Giant gradually. Can he fill that role as a new guy in town in Oakland?

"With the Giants, I knew how guys responded, each and every player, and what it took to rattle their cage and get them ready to go," he said. "I know a lot of guys here, but I'm still learning as far as some guys are get-in-their-face-type guys and some guys are pat-them-on-the-butt-and-tell-them-to-go-out-there-and-get-'em-again-type guys.

"You figure that out as you go. But yeah, I'm comfortable with whatever role they need me to play here."

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