Kevin Gilbride makes retirement official, saying 'it's time'

USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Gilbride announces retirement after spending last 10 years with Giants.

Yes, New York Giants' fans, the news is true. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride is retiring.

"It's hard to say, ‘It's time,' " Gilbride said. "To finally do it, it's a very unnatural feeling. I've been telling my wife (Debbie) for years I was going to do it. She moved back to Rhode Island (where she helps care for a granddaughter when the Gilbrides' daughter is working), so I've been by myself in the hotel for three or four years. I knew this was it and I was going to do it. I finally pulled the trigger. But it's difficult."

Gilbride, 62, has been with the Giants during all of Tom Coughlin's 10 seasons as head coach. He has been offensive coordinator since 2007, calling plays in a pair of Super Bowl victories.

"I have great respect for Kevin and Debbie and their family, so it's not an easy thing to part ways," Coughlin said. "Kevin is a professional. He's been an exceptional football coach for the New York Giants. He helped win two Super Bowl championships. Kevin was the play-caller in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. He has done a great service to the franchise."

Gilbride coached for 39 seasons, 24 in the NFL.

"I've enjoyed every minute of coaching," Gilbride said. "Certainly the last 10 years with the Giants has been a special time, to be part of the bringing the Super Bowls to New York and New Jersey and the Giants organization. I've thoroughly enjoyed the development of some of the young players that we brought along, certainly starting with Eli. But (also) Steve Smith and Victor Cruz; they hadn't had a Pro Bowl receiver since 1968 and we brought two back to them. That's been fun."

Co-owner John Mara and general manager Jerry Reese both praised Gilbride.

"Kevin is an outstanding coach who made enormous contributions to this franchise," said Mara. "He helped us win a lot of games over the past 10 years, including two Super Bowls. He will be remembered as one of the best coaches to ever represent the New York Giants."

"Kevin has been a special person around here for a long time and a very good football coach," Reese said. "We are grateful for his years of service with us, especially during the two championship seasons. I wish only the best for him and his family moving forward."

Quarterback Eli Manning also expressed sadness at the news.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Kevin," Manning said. "I'm really sad to see him retire. He has been with me from day one as my quarterbacks coach and then my coordinator. He really taught me everything I needed to learn to become an NFL quarterback. We've had so much success together, obviously winning our two Super Bowls. His offenses have had great success in this league for many, many years. He's been a great coach and great friend over these 10 years, and I'm definitely going miss him on the field and in the meeting rooms."

The Giants' offense struggled in  2013 with injuries, questionable personnel decisions and less-than-stellar seasons from some key performers leaving the Giants unable to keep up with the rest of the league, where offenses were exploding. The Giants scored 294 points in 2013, the lowest total of the Coughlin/Gilbride era. They finished 28th in the NFL in total yards (307.5 a game), 29th in rushing yards per game (83.3) and 30th in yards per carry (3.5). Manning threw a career-high and franchise-record 27 interceptions against only 18 touchdown passes.

"It is difficult to walk away after a season like that, no question," Gilbride said. ""What I'll miss most of all are the relationships, certainly starting with Tom and all that he means to us, but also the other coaches and the players. When you're with them in that environment, the crucible of competition, it's hard not to forge some very, very strong bonds. It will be very difficult to say goodbye to those guys. I will miss them terribly. I'll miss everybody in the organization."

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