Another chapter of Giants history has been closed.   Justin Tuck is a Oakland Raider.

The defensive face of the franchise is gone and while some of you are tired of hearing about the Justin Tuck story, I waited a few days to listen to the drivel from the arm-chair quarterbacks and talking heads before writing my take.

One detail that has surfaced that is accurate is that General Manager, Jerry Reese didn’t want Tuck back, and the franchise should be embarrassed to have gone along with the move so easily.   Since 2005 Justin Tuck has poured himself into his craft and role of leader after Michael Strahan retired.

It’s amazing how fast fans and a franchise can turn on a player.  The saying, “football is a business” is an old and tired philosophy and very convenient for some.

If football is just a business, why do fans expect bone crushing hits, or players to take the field when they are hurt.  Better yet, why do players restructure their contracts or give their employer a “home town” discount to stay in town.  Non of this has anything to do with business…this is called passion for the game.

No 91. almost single handily brought the Giants the 2007 Super Bowl and for the franchise to ask him to take huge pay cut or hit the bricks is disrespectful.   He made many NY Giants executives very rich men.

Even worse, for a solid 5 days the talking heads have recapped Justin Tucks career with under 20 words, “he had two down years and the late burst of sacks against the Redskins doesn’t make him worth money.”  How soon they forget Tuck, Joseph, Jenkins and Paterson shut down Shady McCoy, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles, Alfred Morris, Reggie Bush, and Marshall Lynch in 2013.

A healthy Tuck  alongside other good players, proved he could play up to form.   While he would not command DeMarcus Ware or Jared Allen type money he most likely could have held out for other suitors.

To put things in perspective: In 1998 Michael Strahan had 15 sacks, in 1999 slipped to 5.5 and in 2000 he had 9.5.  No one wanted to run him out-of-town or force him to take a huge pay cut.  Strahan was one of the best defensive ends “ever” to play against the run and his career high in tackles was 61…Tuck surpassed that 4x times in 9 years..

At 30 years old, Justin Tuck had value that goes beyond his experience; however his 2013 highlights should speak for itself.

  • In 2013 Justin Tuck had his highest number of tackles in 4 seasons with 63.
  • In 2013 Tuck had 11 sacks.  .5 behind Allen and 4 more than Julius Peppers
  • In 2013 Tuck played a full season(16 games), 1st time in 4 years.
  • Justin Tuck has had 60 + tackles in a season “4x” in 9 seasons.
  • Justin Tuck had an interception in 2013, first time in 6 seasons.
  • In December 2013, Tuck sacked RGIII(6x), Russell Wilson and Phillips Rivers.

To continue the conversation about Justin Tucks “down years”, analysts should take the time to look at the cast of characters and misfits Jerry Reese brought in to help Tuck stop the run and create pressure up the middle:  Marvin Austin(out of football), Jimmy Kennedy(out of football), Rocky Bernard(cut, resigned, cut again, Out of Football), Adrien Tracey(Cut ’13), Adewale Ojomo(Cut’13).

His on the field presence was powerful, his off field presence was one that felt like this is where he belonged, that he liked the fans and fans liked him back.  His community work should be commended and his voice in the locker room will be one that is quickly missed.

For all the years of bad drafts, bad free agents and holding onto players like Sinorice Moss, Gerris Wilkerson, Travis Beckum, Aaron Ross, Ramses Barden, Clint Sintim, Da’Rel Scott, Phillip Dillard, Greg Jones and Adrien Robinson…the Giants owed the fans and Justin Tuck better.

Craig J. Santucci | Managing Editor