- Sam Alipour
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For all of the accolades he’s received and the generous spotlight afforded him as a member of the New York Giants, two-time All-Pro defensive end Justin Tuck had yet to capitalize on his star power with a scripted prime-time television appearance.
Look for the Giants’ soft-spoken defensive captain when he guest stars on Wednesday night’s episode of “Necessary Roughness,” USA Network’s pro football-centric, one-hour drama series.
What took the acting novice so long to nab a guest-starring role on a scripted series?
“I’m not that big of a star,” Tuck said with a chuckle Tuesday. “Sometimes it takes a little longer than you might think. But I got the opportunity to do something different, and I jumped on it. It was a fun experience, and I got an opportunity to work with great people.
“I mean, I think everybody in America knows Uncle Jessie.”
That’s right, Tuck makes his non-commercial acting debut alongside John Stamos, the former star of ABC’s “Full House.”
Now in its third season, “Necessary Roughness” is pulling away from the fictional New York Hawks football team to focus on V3, a sports and entertainment agency run by Stamos’ Connor McClane.
In the episode airing Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET, McClane hosts Tuck at a charity gala, where the Alabaman walks the red carpet and ribs Terrence “T.K.” King (played by Mehcad Brooks), the Hawks star who’d missed out on an endorsement deal with Subway, a brand Tuck endorses in real life. The sandwich shop’s signage can be seen in the background.
That’s no coincidence.
“Subway is a big sponsor of the show,” Tuck acknowledged. “I don’t know how my name came up -- I’m not the most talented guy -- but I was lucky to get the part.”
The cameo is just the latest development in an eventful offseason for Tuck, who turned 30 in March. On Father’s Day, the Notre Dame product welcomed his second child into the world, Jonah Frederick Tuck. And in the spring, Tuck attended a four-day seminar hosted by famed life coach Tony Robbins, who got the defensive end looking inward -- and walking on hot coals.
Tuck credited a new mindset in noting that he expects to bounce back from two consecutive lackluster seasons.
“This year I’m going to worry about myself and not other people,” Tuck said. “Critics are going to say a lot of things about you. If you play great, or bad, they’ll say things about you. I haven’t played to my normal stats the last two years, so for me, this offseason has been about working and blocking everything else out. My focus is to work my butt off to get in the best shape, physically and mentally, and I think I’m there.”
That, of course, means Hollywood will have to wait.
“If there’s an opportunity to do more acting after football,” he said, “then I’ll explore that. But right now my focus is family and football.”
And that explains Tuck’s low-key plans for Wednesday night, when his episode airs.
“I’ll probably be at home,” he said, “changing diapers.”
You can check out Tuck’s scene in the video above, courtesy of USA Network.