NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The pain got to be too much for Chris Snee.
So the veteran guard told the New York Giants that he is retiring.
The two-time Super Bowl champion spent 10 seasons in the NFL, all with the same franchise, quarterback and head coach.
“I’m honored to be called a Giant, and will forever be so,” Snee told WFAN radio shortly after the announcement. “This was a decision I had to make.”
Snee told WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts that he’d like to get into high-school coaching and stay in the Tri-State Area.
“To all the Giants fans out there, thank you very much,” he said. “It’s been an honor.”
Snee met with coach Tom Coughlin, who also is his father-in-law, then said Monday he was ending his NFL career. He has had two hip surgeries and now is most troubled by right elbow and wrist problems. He sat out minicamp last month but indicated he expected to play this season.
“Chris is a pro’s pro,” Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. “He played the game right. He was as tough and prideful as they come. We will miss him.”
“I know it’s my time,” Snee said in a statement. “I’m thankful to the Giants for giving me this opportunity to try to come back, but I also told them, I told Jerry Reese face-to-face, that I would give him an honest evaluation and I’m a man of my word. I would not be able to help the team the way that I expect of myself or the way that they would expect of me.”
Snee was a second-round pick in 2004 out of Boston College and has made four Pro Bowls. He was to be the anchor of a revamped offensive line this season — a unit that underperformed in 2013 with Snee sidelined for all but three games.
Snee started every game in which he played over the last decade, 141 in all. He made the Pro Bowl in 2008, ’09, ’10 and ’12, a versatile blocker as efficient in pass protection as he was in the running game. He won two Super Bowls as New York’s starting right guard.
“To me, he was the best guard in all of football,” Coughlin said. “No doubt. No matter who you put him against, all of the great defensive tackles in the game, the 350 (pound) guys, the 340 guys, he blocked them. When he first came here, he was so, so committed and so driven to excel at the professional level as he had excelled at the collegiate level.”
Snee’s retirement leaves three players on the roster who won the NFL title after the 2007 and 2011 seasons: quarterback Eli Manning, long snapper Zak DeOssie and linebacker-defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, who was on injured reserve for the first of those games.
He was the last active member of the Super Bowl XLII starting offensive line that included Shaun O’Hara, Kareem McKenzie, Rich Seubert and David Diehl.
Snee joined the team the same year as Manning, who now is the longest-tenured Giant.
“He called me yesterday and told me the news,” Manning said. “I kind of knew there was a possibility with everything going on with his health. I’m obviously disappointed just because we’ve had a long run together. We came in the same year, were roommates for home games and away games that first year. We’ve won a lot of games and been through a lot together and been great pals, so I told him I’d miss him.”
Manning said the Giants would miss Snee’s leadership, a sentiment echoed by co-owner John Mara.
“I think Chris was everything you could ever hope for in a player: toughness, integrity, and a lot of pride,” Mara said. “Winning mattered to him. I think he set a great example for all of the other players. He’s somebody we’re going to miss very much. He was one of the greatest offensive linemen in Giants history, and he’ll be on that Ring of Honor someday.”
“This one hurts,” safety Antrel Rolle posted to his Instagram page. “U always have guys that come to fight with you on the gridiron but very rarely do u find a guy who FIGHTS 100% of the time no matter how he feels. This guy gave the team his all. I begged him to come back and give me one more year. He tried but I guess it’s time for him to leave the game. I can respect that. FIRST CLASS GUY ALL THE WAY AROUND.”
Coughlin, of course, has another reason for missing Snee.
“It’s different,” Coughlin said, “because not only is it a great football player retiring from the game, who has contributed so much to our team and our franchise and has two world championships to show for it, he is a highly respected and loved member of our family.”
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