Coughlin, Reese Say 31-Year-Old 2-Time Super Bowl Champion Will Be Missed

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A defensive mainstay and former two-time champion has been shown the door by the Giants.

In a clear move to free up needed salary cap space, Big Blue released veteran linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka on Tuesday after nine seasons.

Kiwanuka, 31, was selected No. 31 overall in the 2006 draft out of Boston College and went on to be a part of two Super Bowl championship teams.

“Mathias has a warrior mentality,” Giants general manager Jerry Reese told the team’s official website. “He has been the ultimate team player for this franchise, and was a true pro from day one.”

By cutting Kiwanuka, the Giants will save $4.825 million against the cap.

Kiwanuka started the first 11 games of the 2014 season at defensive end before a knee injury landed him on injured reserve, ending his season.

A consummate professional, Kiwanuka has 412 tackles and 38.5 sacks in 120 career games.

“The thing that has always impressed me about Kiwi is how serious he is about the game,” head coach Tom Coughlin said. “He was always prepared and always in outstanding condition and played very hard. And he had some nasty in him.

“I always felt like you could count on certain things from him: eight-nine sacks, harass the quarterback, and you could move him around, inside, outside. He is dependable, reliable and there is no question about his professionalism,” Coughlin added.

According to reports, the Giants, who were believed to be around $20 million under the cap before releasing Kiwanuka, recently decided to slap a franchise tag on veteran defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, meaning at the very least he will be a Giant in 2015.

Coughlin has said he would love to have both Pierre-Paul and free agent safety Antrel Rolle back.

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