Giants' Whitfield retires after 15 seasons

One day after the New York Giants cut ties to starting left offensive tackle Luke Petitgout, his backup cut ties to the league, as veteran Bob Whitfield on Tuesday filed paperwork to retire from the NFL after 15 seasons.

Bob Whitfield Whitfield

Whitfield, 35, played the past two seasons for the Giants, appearing in 32 games and starting in nine contests, including seven in 2006.

"That's it," Whitfield said. "It's time to move on."

In walking away from the game, Whitfield may have been a step ahead of the posse, since it appears he was targeted by coach Tom Coughlin and new general manger Jerry Reese as part of a roster purge that began on Monday afternoon. In addition to Petitgout, the Giants released linebackers LaVar Arrington and Carlos Emmons.

The goal of the purge seems to be to rid the New York roster of some older players whose durability has come into question the past few years. Of the moves made to date, the release of Petitgout, who missed the second half of the 2006 season with a broken leg, is arguably the most surprising, since it leaves the Giants without a proven left tackle.

New York might move four-year veteran David Diehl, who has played primarily at left guard, to left tackle this spring.

The first-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in the 1992 draft, Whitfield was one of the NFL's premier blindside pass protectors for much of his career. The former Stanford star possessed great physical skills, and while his career probably fell shy of expectations, as he played in just one Pro Bowl game, he was still an excellent linemen in his prime.

Whitfield was a fixture in the Atlanta lineup, posting nine seasons with 16 starts each, until his release in the summer of 2003. He played for Jacksonville in 2004, then signed with the Giants in '05 as a free agent. Whitfield's skill level slipped noticeably in 2006 and he earned the ire of Coughlin for twice drawing personal foul penalties when he head-butted opponents right in front of game officials.

For his career, Whitfield appeared in 220 games and started 176 of them.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.