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Here is some of what we learned about New York Giants' defensive end Justin Tuck during the ESPN E:60 episode featuring him on Tuesday night.
Justin Tuck is currently playing his eight season for the New York Giants and has become one of the biggest names in New York City sports. Even in a city with a big media world, no one really seemed to know a lot about his background: Where did he come from? How was he discovered? What kind of family is he from? Tuesday night, ESPN aired an E:60 episode featuring the Giants' defensive end, during which everyone who viewed it found out all of that.
A lot of things factor into Tuck becoming the football player he's become, but he owes a lot of that to his family. Tuck is the youngest child and has five older sisters who, I guess you can say, bossed him around. As the second oldest of six kids, I know what it's like to be in a big family and how tough it makes you become.
Tuck wrote a children's book called Home Field Advantage which touches on his sisters putting him in his place. They would pull pranks on him, cut his hair, and do a lot of other things older siblings pick on their younger siblings for. As adults they all laugh about it, but Tuck considers the acts by his sisters are what makes football easier to him. The physical nature of a football game doesn't match to what he went through as a young sibling in a big family.
Tuck grew up in a small town of Kellyton, Ala., with a population of just 200+. ESPN.com NFL columnist Jeffri Chadiha asked Tuck just how small of a town it was, and Tuck responded, "Uh...half of them are Tucks."
Coming from a small town, the thought of ever living in a city like New York and playing football in one of the toughest media bases in the country never crossed Tuck's mind as a kid.
"I would have laughed...And I probably would have told you I wouldn't want that life...I didn't want the pressure of the big city life or...being a celebrity where everybody's probing into your personal life. I didn't want any of that...," said Tuck.
Little did Tuck know that's exactly what would happen to him.
Tuck grew up in Alabama and played football for Central Coosa County. He excelled in positions such as tight end, linebacker, and defensive end. One day a couple of Notre Dame recruiters took a wrong turn down the road and stopped for directions at a gas station store. The store was a place Tuck normally stopped at and the recruiters told the clerk they were looking for a linebacker. The clerk gave them directions to Tuck's high school.
Thus, the journey from small town star to Super Bowl hero began.
Tuck went on to play football at Notre Dame and was a rising star. He holds several school records including 24.5 sacks, 43 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks in a single season. In 2005 he was selected in the third round of the NFL draft by the New York Giants.
Today, Tuck is 29 years old, a two-time Super Bowl Champion with the Giants, a husband, and a father. He met his wife Lauran Williamson at Notre Dame when they were in school. Tuck has a charity called "Tuck's Rush for Literacy" that has donated thousands of books to schools in New York, New Jersey, and Alabama.
Though Tuck has spent a lot of years in the big city thanks to the Giants, he would like to get back to the smaller things once his NFL career is over.
"I like simple things in life...and hopefully when I retire from the NFL I'll go back to those simple things," said Tuck.