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Antonio Pierce on New York Giants’ Justin Tuck: “He’s not the Same Player”

December 23rd, 2012 at 9:30 AM
By Dan Benton

'Justin Tuck' photo (c) 2012, Mike Morbeck - license: A variety of injuries a year ago had New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck briefly considering retirement. However, after talking to head coach Tom Coughlin and teammate Antrel Rolle, he snapped out of it, returned to form and helped lead the Giants to a Super Bowl XLVI victory. But here in 2012, it's been eerily reminiscent of that pre-talk Justin Tuck – the one who had retirement on his mind. And former linebacker Antonio Pierce, who was on the same field as Tuck when he was at his best, says he's not the same player.

"I played with Justin Tuck and have a tremendous respect for him. But he has not been the same player emotionally, mentally or his play in the last three years. It's just the facts," Pierce said on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN 98.7 FM on Friday. "He came on late last season and once Antrel Rolle and a couple of other guys said he had to pick it up, but for the most part, he's a situation, third-down, passing situation defensive end."

Like everyone else however, Pierce has no idea exactly what's different about Tuck or the Giants as a whole, just that he's not the same player and they're not the same team.

"When you watch him on Sundays, you do not see the energy, you do not see the fire he used to play with. And I don't know why. I don't know if it's personal stuff going on or maybe he's physically tired."

Tuck, who has one year remaining on a five-year deal and is scheduled to earn $4.5 million in 2013, is never shy about his struggles and has acknowledged them. Earlier this week, he said flat out that he hasn't been getting the job done, and that the talk has started to distract him and other members of the defensive line.

"I haven't had a good year. JPP hasn't had a good year. Kiwi, Osi, none of us have had good years compared to what we expect from ourselves," Tuck said recently. "Honestly, I think we just need to stop worrying about what people write and what people say about our pass rush and just get back to beating people up front. I think you start listening to what people are saying about, ‘You’re not getting sacks and you’re not doing this,’ you start trying to look for answers instead of focusing on the answer, which is you beating the guy in front of you. I think that’s what we’ve got to get back to."

Tuck and the rest of the line have only two games to "get back to" their disruptive ways or risk being sent home early.


Tags: Antonio Pierce, Antrel Rolle, Football, Justin Tuck, New York, New York Giants, NFL

14 Responses to “Antonio Pierce on New York Giants’ Justin Tuck: “He’s not the Same Player””

  1.  rlhjr says:

    This is no mystery. I think the injury he suffered due to Flozell Adams being a piece of human excrement is the cause of Tucks issues. I don’t think he’ll ever be the same player again.

    I do not dislike JT. I really thought he was on track to be as good as Strahan.
    But his attitude is not the best anymore. I suspect he understands the injury has limited him and it’s not a happy thought.

    If that is the case, and he wishes to continue playing, he has to step into a situational pass rush/run stop role and let Tracy take over. Right now and for most of last year he sulks. The defense needs more than what he has left to give every three downs. He was an awesome talent. But “was” is the operative word. It’s sad, but (IMHO) it’s true.

  2.  Dirt says:

    Typically, I don’t buy into any kind of hope or belief that the Giants will turn it around due to anything that’s happened in the past. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Because they won out last year means nothing in 2012. Because Eli has frequently come from behind doesn’t mean it’s OK to spot your opponent an early lead.

    However, with that being said, one thing that I suppose is entirely possible is that Justin Tuck *is* saving himself for when the games become elimination games. Knowing he’s beat down, so long as the team is winning, maybe he thinks “why push it?” And in his case, with a broken down body, maybe it makes sense

    But now is the time to turn it on.

  3.  James Stoll says:

    Who knows about Tuck. He was the best defender on the field in ’07 and started ’08 off great. He actually had a really good 2010 season as well. But 2009 with the shoulder, all last year until the Cowboys week 14, and all this season, pretty mediocre. Don’t know what he has left, but if he can elevate his game one more time, that would be a huge boost.

  4.  Dirt says:

    Marc Ross leading candidate for Panthers GM, per Schefter.

  5.  TuckThis says:

    That this has become all about Justin Tuck is silly. This team has a lot more problems than Tuck. I can pretty much guarantee that if the Giants lose today, we’ll have a long list of culprits. I guess it’s easier to pick out one scapegoat then blame the whole team for their less than lackluster play in every aspect of the game. Anyway….
    Go Giants!

    •  Krow says:

      I really don’t blame Tuck if he’s had enough. Financially set for life … 2 SB rings. If he doesn’t want to take the pounding of life in the NFL I wouldn’t say he was foolish. But I do believe that he has to decide if he still wants to make the sacrifices necessary to play at his potential. He shouldn’t half-way it.

      •  nick86 says:

        I dont think he holding anything back on the field. He’s just not the same player he used to be…I think it’s as simple as that. He’s giving good effort, he just doesn have the explosiveness anymore

  6.  Krow says:

    Of course the unavoidable problem in losing Marc Ross is that he takes our 2013 draft strategy with him. All our UDFA research .. any sleepers we may have in our sights .. any free agents we think are a value signing. It’s not just the loss of a talented personnel man. It’s like having a spy steal all your secrets.

  7.  demo3356 says:

    Tuck may be playing his last few games as a Giant. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him retire or be a cap casualty.. Guy has been non factor all year. Maybe getting called out by Peirce will have same effect that being called out by Rolle last year did?? Who knows? Guy has been one of my favorite giants the last 5 years but shows no fire and is no longer dominant..

    •  nick86 says:

      He’s never been a very fiery guy… he’s just not as explosive as he once was. thats life in the nfl. injuries have piled up and he’s slowed down.

  8.  demo3356 says:

    Saw that piece on ESP about Ross.. Wish him the best, guy has earned a shot and after years under Acorsi and Ross should be very successful..

  9.  demo3356 says:

    Deihl is gone after this season and Snee probably after next but Baas is still pretty young and should be around at least 2-3 years. I see a new RT next year but the other 4 starters the same with Locklear as swing tackle

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