EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Justin Tuck is well aware that Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins might be his last as a New York Giant.
Tuck is schedule to become an unrestricted free agent after this season and it remains to be seen how much money the Giants are willing to pay a player who will turn 31 in March.
There is no doubt that Tuck has put up the right numbers in the final year of his contract. He has a team-high nine sacks and has played well against the run, according to defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.
Off the field, Tuck is one of those players that coach Tom Coughlin can count on for leadership. The problem is that the 10-year veteran has battled injuries in previous seasons, so signing him might be a risk.
“It’s not scary,” Tuck said Thursday about his uncertain future. “It’s interesting. The thing about it is I’m all about finishing. We have a game to play and that’s the focus. After that, we’ll handle that.”
Tuck would like to continue his career with the team that drafted him in the third round in 2005, the same franchise he helped win two Super Bowls.
“I think I did my part,” the defensive co-captain said. “Yeah, I would love to be back. That’s how it is. That said, we’ll go down that avenue when we go down that avenue.”
While Tuck has had an excellent season, the Giants (6-9) have not, missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. They lost their opening six and briefly got back into playoff contention before losses to Dallas and San Diego in a three-game span eliminated them.
Fewell said Tuck worked hard in the offseason to get himself ready for this year. It allowed him to play better against the run and approach the game with more edge and purpose.
Age should not be an issue, Fewell said.
“I know that in his heart, he loves to play the game, so when you play from your heart, you’re able to do some things that you normally wouldn’t be able to do,” Fewell said. “I think he can turn still play the run game very good for several more years and then just depending upon how healthy he stays, he’ll be effective in the pass game. If you couple that with a healthy JPP, then maybe he doesn’t draw as much attention and he steals a couple more sacks.”
Safety Antrel Rolle, who has been the Giants’ top player on defense, said Tuck is having a Pro Bowl season.
“Hopefully, I can ride with that guy a couple of more years,” Rolle said. “He is a phenomenal guy. He’s a phenomenal talent, an outstanding teammate. I don’t want to think about that day (when Tuck leaves). I would definitely miss him.
“We still have one more game to play. Whatever ownership wants to do, they will do. We’re professional and we’ll accept it. Hopefully, we can make another run at this next year. That’s the plan.”
The Giants will have more than 20 free agents, including middle linebacker Jon Beason, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, receiver Hakeem Nicks, halfback Andre Brown and guard-center Kevin Boothe.
NOTES: CB Terrell Thomas, who overcame his third ACL injury to play this season, has been named the winner of the 13th annual George Young Good Guy Award, as voted on by the Giants’ chapter of the Professional Football Writers of America. … WR Rueben Randle was limited at practice because of a swollen knee. He expects to play Sunday.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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