Jan 29, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Super Bowl Boulevard for Super Bowl XLVIII at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
Justin Tuck’s arrival in Oakland may have came as a bit of a surprise (although this very blog was on the potential of Tuck arriving quite early) as the veteran defensive end has been the face of the team’s pass rush ever since Hall of Famer Michael Strahan retired after their first Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots.
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From that point Tuck stepped up to carry the Giants to a second Super Bowl where once again the New York pass rush gave Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fits, but when it came to making sure that Tuck would remain a Giant for the rest of his career the team balked at the notion of paying Tuck back for his career’s worth of service to the franchise.
New York gave little incentive for Tuck to remain with the team, with reports indicating their offer wasn’t very serious compared to his market value. Something that Oakland took advantage of after Tuck ended his season strong in 2013, hoping that the two time Super Bowl champion will take the Giants lack of interest in keeping him around as motivation to lead Oakland to the promised land.
Commenting on the situation, Tuck says he is still shocked his former team didn’t act like they wanted to keep him around.
Tuck told Conor Orr of the Newark Star-Ledger he’s surprised he’s a Raider now, still in disbelief that his former team had no interest in keeping him around despite having intentions of remaining a Giant for the rest of his career.
“To answer your question, I am still surprised I’m not a New York Giant,” Tuck said.
Tuck went as far as bringing up the unpopularity of the move with Giants fans, who aren’t exactly happy the team sent one of the faces of the franchise packing with little loyalty towards a veteran leader of a struggling team.
“The only thing weird is when you see Giants fans who have a tendency to tell you how stupid the team is,” Tuck said. “Those are their words, not mine. But yeah, it was weird. You spend nine years in one place. You have a lot of success there and a lot of great friends. So yeah, it’s going to be weird but I understand the business side of things and you need to move forward.”
Perhaps the Giants struggles may have led to letting Tuck go, and saving cap space for a rebuild also likely came into play with the Giants decision to not retain one of their most popular defensive players. Fans in New York’s loss is however the Raider Nation’s gain as Oakland has perhaps their most accomplished pass rusher in years coming into 2014 with an edge to prove his former team wrong and show that he can still strike fear into opposing quarterbacks.
A key factor in two Super Bowl wins against one of the greatest quarterbacks of the 00’s, Tuck’s resume speaks for itself. The Raiders are hoping that Tuck adds to his list of career accomplishments in his new home, something that would give the veteran the last laugh.