Sunday, October 16, 2011
Justin Tuck: 'I'm playing against Miami'
By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants defensive end Justin Tuck guaranteed that he's going to play against the Miami Dolphins in two weeks following New York's Week 7 bye.
"I'm playing against Miami, guys. How about that?" Tuck said after the Giants improved to 4-2 following their 27-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon. "So you can stop asking me about injuries."
"Look at my eyes. Look at my face. I am playing against Miami," a seemingly peeved Tuck said in response to a follow-up question asking how he knew he could play. "I know that will be tweeted in about 10 seconds."
Tuck has missed the Giants' past three games and played in just two of the team's first six games this season due to lingering neck and groin injuries. The 28-year-old defensive captain has recorded six tackles and 1.5 sacks in 2011.
Tuck elected to sit out until the team's Week 7 bye because he didn't want to suffer another setback like he did last week in an attempt to return too soon.
"I came back too early, had a setback, and I'm being punished right now," Tuck had said Thursday. "If I had sat out the last three weeks like people were telling me to, maybe I'd be playing this week regardless."
His decision was highly criticized by former teammate Antonio Pierce earlier this week.
"The Giants need their guys out there," Pierce said on "Mike & Mike in the Morning." "Justin Tuck, Brandon Jacobs ... (the Giants) already have enough injuries but how long can you go throughout the NFL season without some of your top players?"
"To me if you don't have an injury that needs surgery, or that's severe, you need to be out there," added Pierce, who is now an ESPN NFL analyst. "I don't really know and I don't want to question guys, but if you are one of the leaders on the team, which Brandon Jacobs and Justin Tuck are, and you say you know what, the Seattle Seahawks, maybe we don't need to play this game and you miss out, that is what's going to come back to bite you in the tail."
When told that Pierce said Tuck should be on the field if he doesn't need surgery, Tuck said his former teammate can call him to discuss the matter.
"Tell Antonio he knows my cell phone number, if he has anything to say about me, about how I play the game," said Tuck, who ended his interview session with reporters after the comment.
Tuck's return would help out an already talented Giants' defensive line, which features the likes of Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants also have Dave Tollefson for depth.
Despite notching 7.5 sacks this season, Pierre-Paul, now in his second year in the NFL, would likely move into a backup role once Tuck is back.
Meanwhile, Giants right guard Chris Snee said he is feeling better after suffering a concussion during last week's loss to Seattle. Snee hopes to be cleared to play against Miami following the bye week. Kevin Boothe started in place of Snee against the Bills.
"I feel better," Snee said. "I made improvements this week, not enough to play today obviously. But I will get retested on Tuesday and hopefully the next game I will be up."
Mike Mazzeo is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.