The biggest storyline going into Sunday's game with the Saints is rightfully that two of the top teams in the NFC, both undefeated, will be facing off with each other for an early upper hand in the race for home field advantage. This has overshadowed the fact that the game will be the first time ex-Giant tight end Jeremy Shockey will play against his old team after a messy breakup before last season.
For those who don't remember, Shockey was a dynamic pass catcher his first few years for the Giants, though his reputation sometimes exceeded his production. He made the Pro Bowl four times in his six years in New York, but he was often hobbled by injuries and sometimes suffered from a case of the dropsies. After breaking his fibula in week 15 of the 2007 season, Shockey missed the Giants run to the Super Bowl, which he watched from a luxury box that he paid for out of pocket. The Giants held onto him through the 2008 draft, but during training camp decided that the situation had become too volatile and dealt him to the Saints for a second and fifth-round draft pick in the 2009 draft (with which they drafted Clint Sintim and Rhett Bomar).
The New Orleans Times-Picayune has an in-depth article about Shockey, detaling his departure from the Giants and his adjustment to playing with the Saints. On his departure from the Giants, Shockey had the following to say:
"I was very close with the owner, " Shockey said. "He passed, and I was at the funeral. I believe, and I know in my heart, if those guys were there some of this stuff would have never happened. And I would probably still be playing there. But everything happens for a reason. It happened, and I've moved on. I know they've moved on, and I've moved on, and I feel great about the situation.
"I thought I had a successful six years there, and I did some things to help the organization, marketing-wise -- I know they made a lot of money off of jersey sales and the things I've done for them. Going to the Pro Bowl four out of six years is a very big accomplishment, and I was expecting a little more respect than I was receiving."
In Shockey's eyes, he could do no right when it came to the media in New York, who chronicled nearly every move of the breakup between Shockey and the organization.
"If you look back at all the articles ever written and all the hoopla and all the media people, I never really commented, " Shockey said. "They kind of speculated. And that's the thing I didn't like.
"It was all this speculation, and people were always writing articles about me, but the guy who the article was about never commented. I just never commented."
I have fond memories of Shockey dating back to his days at the University of Miami. I was ecstatic when the Giants drafted him, and I'll never forget what a force he was that first preseason and during his rookie year. That said, I had grown tired of his act and was glad the Giants traded him after proving they could win without him. I think in the end it's a situation that worked out well for all involved -- Shockey went to a team that utilizes him the way he should be used (Sean Payton was his offensive coordinator during his rookie year, after all), and the Giants got rid of a headcase and haven't really looked back. One thing I am definitely glad about: at least this time Shockey won't be the cause of a Darren Sharper pick-6.