The status of veteran guard Chris Snee is one of the huge question marks as the 2014 New York Giants prepare to begin training camp. Will Snee be able to play at all? Will he be forced to retire? Will he hold up if he does play? How often will he be in and out of the lineup? Even if he plays, what is left in his tank after 10 seasons, four Pro Bowls, one All-Pro selection and two Super Bowl titles?
Let's look closer at the 32-year-old Snee as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants' 90-man roster.
2013 Season In Review
Snee had surgery prior to the season to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. He missed the offseason program and had little practice time during the preseason. He had to shut it down after just three games, having suffered a torn labrum in his right hip. He finished the season on injured reserve.
2014 Season Preview
2014 Season Preview
2014 Season Outlook
Uncertain. After surgeries on both hips the past two years, as well as elbow surgery this offseason, the Giants decided to give Snee one last chance to prove he could still play. That is more than Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert and Kareem McKenzie -- all former teammates of Snee's -- got when they began to break down. Call it nepotism because Snee is head coach Tom Coughlin's son-in-law, if you must, or just desperation because of how awful the Giants' line was in 2013, but counting on Snee for 2014 is and always was going to be a big gamble. That is why the team and Snee agreed to a re-negotiated contract that amounted to a $4-million pay cut to try one more time with the Giants.
Snee, of course, did not make it through OTAs before having to be shut down when his surgically-repaired elbow began bothering him. The plan is for Snee to rest until training camp, and then try again. Asked about Snee during a recent radio interview, Giants' GM Jerry Reese did not sound anywhere close to certain that Snee would make it to the post for an 11th NFL season. Reese said "the jury's still out," adding that Snee was "not doing great this spring."
"We'll see in the next few weeks if he's going to be able to help us or not. I think he will make a decision one way or the other. We'll see where that goes."
Reese, without uttering the word 'retirement,' sounded like that option was on the table. So did Snee, when talking to Bob Glauber of Newsday last month before reporters knew he had been shut down by his elbow issues:
"At my age, there are good days and there are bad days, so a day off every couple of days in [Organized Team Activities] is working out well," Snee said after watching Thursday's practice session. "Right now, I just tell myself to take it day by day, and when the spring is over, I'll let the [medical staff and coaches] know how I feel."
What I wrote about Snee last month -- that he is a huge question mark -- still applies. So, here is part of that post once again:
With Snee having missed several OTAs and all of mini-camp due to a flare-up in that surgically-repaired elbow, the early returns are not good. Coughlin tried to sound optimistic about Snee on the first day of mini-camp, insisting that "we know what we have." Is that really true?
Snee did not play up to his standards in 2012 while battling a torn labrum in his left hip. Last season, he had to shut down after three sub-par games because he could not function due to a torn labrum in the right hip.
Offensive line coach Pat Flaherty was actually speaking about injured offensive lineman John Jerry when he gave the following answer, but it has to be applicable to Snee as well:
"Any time, I think one of the great questions is: ‘How is so and so improving because he's been injured?' Well, you really only improve in football by doing football activities. That's how you improve in terms of technique and fundamentals," Flaherty said.
Snee, honestly, has not done much in terms of 'football activities' since 2012. He practiced very little prior to the 2013 season, played only three games and is now shut down once again. There has to be concern, and the possibility that Coughlin will have to tell his son-in-law that he has reached the end of the NFL line.
Fortunately, the Giants appear to have a succession plan in place if they need to utilize it. Jerry started every game at right guard for the Miami Dolphins the past two seasons, Brandon Mosley has been taking first-team reps and could be ready to step in, and second-round pick Weston Richburg has been learning the position.
Will Snee be in the lineup when the Giants begin the season Sept. 8 vs. the Detroit Lions? He wants to be, and he deserves credit for working hard in an effort to make that happen. No one has ever doubted Snee's heart, or the contributions he has made to the Giants for the past decade. If I was a betting man, though, I would bet against it. The Snee story will be one to follow during training camp. Unless, of course, we get news about Snee before camp even begins.