This has been an offseason like no other in the NFL career of New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford.
A Super Bowl championship to celebrate. Having the Giants place the franchise tag on him, a rare occurrence for a punter. Getting a five-year contract from the Giants, his sixth organization in six years. A trip to Africa.
A Weatherford Bonus
-- Weatherford has agreed to answer some questions from the Big Blue View community via e-mail. Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line 'Weatherford.' I will choose the best questions and submit them to him for his response.
"It's been one blessing after another. The playoff run we went on to winning the Super Bowl to getting the franchise tag and now getting a long-term deal done with the Giants. It's been a great offseason," Weatherford said Sunday during an autograph and memorabilia show in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
"After seven years in the NFL it feels good to know that I'm going to have a home for at least five years."
Weatherford, 29, had the best season of his career in 2011, averaging a career-high 45.7 yards per punt. He placed 25 punts inside the 20-yard line and was a huge part of the reason for improved special teams play for the Giants.
"They kinda recycle us [punters], Weatherford said while signing helmets deep in a back hallway of Poughkeepsie's Mid-Hudson Civic Center. "It feels good that coach Coughlin and Jerry Reese wanted me back bad enough to spend a franchise tag on a punter. That's very flattering.
"This is the best franchise I've played for. It's an exciting time for us. I really feel like I can lay down some roots now and start to build a little bit of a legacy for my family instead of skipping from team to team every two years like I've been doing."
Weatherford is currently in Africa, where he will spend nearly a week helping to build a school. He said "getting the invite was very flattering."
When he returns and the Giants begin OTAs on April 16 Weatherford knows there will be some familiar faces missing from the lockerroom.
"You're never going to be able to have a team like we had and keep everybody. You're going to have financial opportunities other places and you're not going to be able to keep everybody and pay everybody," Weatherford said. "You know that's going to happen especially this day and age with free agency and the amount of movement you see."
Obviously, though, Weatherford is glad he is not one of the players who is moving on. The Giants are content to keep him right where he is.