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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In what he called “one of the caps to [the Giants] season,” Big Blue’s Justin Tuck hosted his fourth annual celebrity billiards tournament in Chelsea on Thursday.
In the offseason, the two-time Super Bowl champion turns his attention to his charity cause, Justin Tuck’s RUSH For Literacy. The foundation provides reading materials and tools for children in the Tri-State area and his home state of Alabama.
“Me and my wife are very passionate about education in kids,” Tuck told CBSNewYork.com. “In order to have an education, you gotta have a background. You gotta have a foundation. Ask anybody about foundations of education, and it’s reading and writing.”
Tuck is the father of a 2-year-old and the author of ‘Home Field Advantage,’ a children’s book published last year.
The charismatic football player showed up at the event wearing a charming bow tie and a contagious grin. As he enthusiastically greeted friends and guests, the upcoming season and pressure to win another NFL championship appeared to be the last thing on his mind.
“The night is about coming together and having fun, and raising a lot of awareness and funds,” he said.
While walking the red carpet, Tuck chatted with the media about everything from his Scrabble with Friends skills to his upcoming Super Bowl trip the White House. While he tried to stay away from talking about football, the leader of the Giants’ defense did take a moment to address his recent comments on teammate Osi Umenyiora’s contract woes.
“I’m not really taking sides in it,” Tuck said Thursday night. “I’m just stating the obvious.”
He chose his words carefully as he told CBSNewYork that his comment “wasn’t necessarily in defense of [Umenyiora],” but rather “an obvious statement.”
“Osi’s been a great part [of the team],” Tuck said. “He needs to be rewarded for that. But you understand the business. Jerry Reese is going to do everything in his power, our ownership is going to do everything in their power, to put the best team forward.”
The billiards tournament, held annually at Slate NYC, draws celebrities and athletes from the NBA, NHL and of course the NFL.
The VIPs pair off into 32 two-person teams to battle it out for bragging rights and a grand prize presented by Tuck. The party drew stars like Vivica A. Fox, ESPN’s Hannah Storm and the “Cake Boss” Buddy Valestro.
Big Blue showed up in big numbers to support Tuck’s event. He was joined by teammates Chase Blackburn, Chris Canty, Jason Pierre-Paul, Terrell Thomas, Michael Boley and Osi Umenyiora.
The charismatic football player was well-dressed for the swanky, star-studded party – but one accessory he was without?
His Super Bowl ring.
“I rarely wear my ring,” Tuck told CBSNewYork.com. “My wife keeps it in a special room in our house, and I actually don’t even know how to get in the room. We have a lock box on it, and I don’t even know the code. I lost my ring once and she said I would never do it again.”