Antonio Pierce calls out injured Giants

Updated: October 11, 2011, 12:29 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Antonio Pierce believes that the New York Giants need their injured players back on the field.

And the former Giants defensive captain says that Justin Tuck and Brandon Jacobs should not be on the sideline unless their injuries require surgery.

"The Giants need their guys out there," Pierce said on "Mike & Mike in the Morning." "Justin Tuck, Brandon Jacobs ... they (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 missed his second straight game on Sunday with pain in his neck lingering from an injury he suffered during the preseason and a strained groin. Jacobs missed the game with what a source says is a sprained MCL.

Pierce tweeted later Monday: "Love ya @JustinTuckNYG91 ... Get your a-- on the field .. You know how it's done!!! #Captain."

Without the two, the Giants were stunned by the Seahawks, 36-25, and had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Tuck did not want to field any questions about his injuries. The defensive end said last week that he has contemplated shutting it down until after the bye week which comes after this Sunday's game against Buffalo. He also tried practicing with new equipment, using different shoulder pads and a new facemask to help with his neck pain and prevent opposing linemen from going after his injury.

Speaking on his weekly appearance on WFAN radio, Tuck said he voiced his displeasure to Pierce and now "it is water under the bridge."

"In a way he's right, in another way he's wrong," Tuck said. "I'm the captain, I need to be on the football field. (Where) he's wrong is that I can't be on it where I can help this football (team) right now. I understand what he said as far as they need my leadership and things of that nature on the football field."

"(But) maybe he should check his facts about what my injuries are," Tuck continued on his Monday chat with WFAN's Mike Francesa.

Without specifying whether the neck or groin injury is more serious, Tuck said he can make his situation worse by playing.

"I definitely can make it worse, it is something that is very tricky and we are trying to play a fine line with it," Tuck said during the radio interview. "Does it require surgery? To what Antonio said, right now, it doesn't. But if I go out there before I should go, it could lead down that road and that is something we are trying to avoid."

When asked why Pierce thinks Tuck can play through his injuries, the defensive end replied, "I don't know. I can definitely remember him missing some football games. I think when people say, well it doesn't require surgery, it can't be that serious. Well, we will see."

Coach Tom Coughlin said that Tuck suffered a setback last Thursday in practice with his groin and was held out of practice after that.

"He says he feels a little bit better today," Coughlin said Monday.

Coughlin, though, added that the Giants need to see Tuck out on the field running before gauging his availability to play. Jacobs' status will likely be updated on Wednesday when the team practices.

"You got to play every one, every one is important," Pierce said. "You can't say we are going to go into a bye, we are going to take it easy."

Tuck shot down the notion that he did not play on Sunday because the Giants were expected to be able to beat the Seahawks without him.

"I have played many games hurt and we didn't probably stand to gain or lose anything," Tuck said. "When I am able to play and help this football team out again, I am going to be on the football field regardless if we are playing the Christian Blind school, it doesn't matter."

Earlier this season during the Giants' 29-16 win at Philadelphia, Tuck had to briefly leave the game due to his neck injury. Former teammate Michael Strahan, now an analyst on FOX, tweeted during that game that the Giants needed Tuck on the field.

"I luv u @JustinTuckNYG91 but unless u R missing a limb U need 2 B in ths game," Strahan tweeted. "Everytime the Eagles R inside Giants 40 u need 2 B out thr."

Tuck and Strahan talked afterward and everything appeared to be smoothed over.

"Being someone who has been on IR multiple times, I mean, you can't comment on someone else's injury, that's just something that I wouldn't do," linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said when told of Pierce's comments. "I feel like health-wise (Tuck) needs to do what is best for him and his family to protect himself and make sure he can play going forward and come back at full strength."

"Maybe other guys would've gone out there in the condition that he's in, but you can't sit there from the outside and say he should be out there because you're not in his body," he added.

Safety Antrel Rolle said that if Tuck and Jacobs could have played, they would have.

"I'm not fully aware of the severeness of Tuck's injury and I don't feel it's Antonio Pierce's place or Michael Strahan's place to comment on someone's injuries," Rolle said on his weekly radio chat on WFAN Tuesday. "Brandon Jacobs, I saw his knee firsthand. I don't see how he could have played. His knee was the size of a volleyball with the fluid in it. Obviously there was no way he could play. At the end of the day, I never question any of my teammates' toughness. If they could play they will, no doubt about it."

Tuck says he and Pierce are fine and still good friends.

"It was no argument," Tuck said. "Me and Antonio will be good friends and we will always be good friends. A lot of people are going to look at this and think they are beefing and fighting. It is nothing like that. At the end of the day, I know A.P. and I know where he is coming from. He just wants to see myself and the Giants succeed and it is nothing but love between us two. It really isn't that big of a deal."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.

Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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