When New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin took the podium for the very first time on Monday, he was peppered with a large number of questions about his players, their health and what he expects as the team eases into their training camp routine. None of it was particularly out of the ordinary, but when he was asked about the retirement of Chris Snee — the only such question about Snee — a very emotional Coughlin showed his soft soft, and a man who usually has few words spoke uninterrupted for over five minutes.
"It was tough. It was very tough. I’ve been thinking that this could happen. I’ve just been on a family vacation with him. I watched him agonize over this for literally the whole summer as he tried to get himself in position to do the things required of him at his position especially the tremendous way in which he puts pressure on himself to perform at the highest level. It was a sad day," Coughlin began.
The more he spoke the more emotional he became. But being the old school disciplinarian he is, Coughlin was able to gather himself before it became too obvious. But with a frog clearly in his throat, he continued.
"I knew that there was a Little League game down in Montclair and that’s where [Snee’s second son] Cooper and Chris were and all of a sudden, I got this little tap on the back from Cooper. We visited for a couple of minutes, and Chris said can I speak to you and I knew. I called Jerry and John Mara and it’s a sad day for the New York Giants. It’s a sad day for our whole family personally. I just walked into the cafeteria and saw two of the boys, the two oldest boys, crying. When [Snee’s wife, Tom’s daughter] Kate saw me, she cried, too, because you have to remember for [Snee’s oldest son] Dylan, this is his whole life. He has been coming around here since he was a little guy," Coughlin added.
For a family who has known nothing other than football, the impact of Snee's retirement will have ripple effects. It was something Snee had previously addressed himself, saying he would need to lean on his family over the next few months as he, too, eventually broke down at the realization his playing career was over. But for Coughlin, the praising of his son-in-law and long-time guard had only just begun.
"All of that said and done, you’re talking about a guy who is a great football player. He has done everything that you want in a man and in a football player. You may say you’re not very objective about this. I’m not pleading my case for objectivity right now, I’m just telling you the quality of the man is greater than the quality and the ability of the football player, and that’s as good as it gets.
"I have been asked a thousand times by each one of you, one at time for all these years what’s it like to coach your son-in-law. I get it when I’m speaking in public or whatever I am doing. The question always has an edge to it as if they want to hear me say it is something that is difficult. Please, Please Lord. I’ll take a hundred of him. If there are 53, I will take 53 of him because you ask his teammates what they think about him. You ask the people who have been with him forever. Ask Eli really what he thinks about him. I think I am saying it exactly the way it is," Coughlin said.
Eli Manning, of course, had already shared similar sentiments about Snee and was equally as emotional as Coughlin. And when you see two men react the way Coughlin and Manning did — two men who generally hide their emotion as well as anyone on the planet — it speaks values about Snee the player and Snee the man.
"However you want to describe it, whether you want to talk about the classroom, the practice field, the locker room, the community, he was there and he did it so the New York Giants can be very proud. Mr. Mara said it and I will just be backing it up. He will be in the Ring of Honor without a doubt and hopefully some other things will come his way as the years go by," Coughlin finished.
Nothing more needs to be said.
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Tags: Chris Snee, Eli Manning, Football, John Mara, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tom Coughlin