Here is the complete text of the Chris Snee retirement press conference held Monday afternoon.
This is going to be a lot shorter (than Shaun O'Hara's retirement speech). It's a bittersweet day. But, one, I really had no choice. It's no secret that I'm going to retire. It'll be an adjustment for myself, my family, but something I had to do. It's been a great 10 years, I'm thankful for all the memories and for the opportunity to come back this spring and try to improve on the memory I had from last year but it wasn't going to happen. I had to admit that I can no longer play. It's a sad day but once I leave, I'll be at peace with it.
Q: When did you come to that realization?
A: Really, it's been a roller-coaster. When I went on IR last year I thought it was it. Then I had the fire to play again. I sat down with Jerry Reese and told him my intentions, asked him if he thought I could still play and he said yes. He said he would give me the opportunity to work this spring and see if my body would hold up. It was going great, I wasn't lying to you guys when I said in May it was great. But I was feeling good. I started OTAs and practice and things went south in a hurry. I was going to be honest like I said I would. I wouldn't be able to play the game I would expect and wouldn't have been proud of the product I put on the field. Those were all clear signs. So, to answer your question, I let Jerry Reese know probably at the end of June of what I was leaning towards doing and made it official a couple of days ago.
Q: What has it meant to you to represent this franchise?
A: It's been an honor. I couldn't imagine playing for any other team. It's a class organization. The fact that they gave me the opportunity this spring is exactly what I'm talking about when I mean ‘class organization.' They didn't have to. They also were prepared for this and have a lot of guys who can play but I'm going to miss it. It's going to be hard, it's going to be a transition. But the fact that I had so many respected people tell me that they're happy I made this decision made my mind rest. When I was still kind of going back and forth and struggling to throw a baseball with my son, it's time.
Q: When you look back, hundreds of kids come out of college every year. 10 years in the league, 2 championships, multiple Pro Bowls and All-Pro. When you look at that, do you say ‘wow, did that really happen to me?'
A: Not yet, I plan on doing that in the next couple of weeks. Then I'll resurface and maybe watch a practice. I'm proud of what I've done and what I've come from. But I haven't truly reflected on it yet. I think this is still very sudden, but as of right now, I'm still trying to get through today.
Q: John Mara said for the first time, he immediately told a player who retired that they would be in the Ring of Honor. What did that mean?
A: That was special. That was just another class act by this organization. When that day comes, I'm sure I'll be a mess again.
Q: Did you hear from Shaun (O'Hara), Dave (Diehl), Richie (Seubert)?
A: Yeah, I heard from all of them and Kareem (McKenzie), too. That was a special group we had. One we should've cherished more when we were together. Those are my brothers. I thought that I would be able to hang on a little bit longer and they're still living through me. Richie's called me four times since midnight. He's in California, so he's not sleeping much. Shaun, the same, and Dave. We've always had each other's back and that's not going to change. We're a part of the history.
Q: Can you talk about your conversation with Eli? Did you call him yesterday?
A: We've been through a lot together. We've been here 10 years together. I didn't want him to find out when I came in on Monday. We have a special relationship. We've been through a lot, two championships and just becoming great friends by the end of this. I thought he had the right to know before everyone else did.
Q: Was the conversation with Tom more emotional given that he is more than just a coach?
A: Which one? The first time, yes. I came in Saturday to let him know. I was hoping to catch Mr. Mara and Mr. Reese but they weren't here. So I told him that and that was tough. It's gotten easier the more people I tell. It's kind of been sitting in me for a while. You know it's coming but until it comes out of your mouth, it doesn't sound...I never thought I could get those words out.
Q: Was Tom the first one you told after Kate (wife)?
Q: Did Tom know it was coming?
A: Yes, he did. He said he knew it was coming. For my health, I think he was happy. He said some kind words. It's been a great run, and I couldn't imagine playing for anyone else.
Q: John Mara called you the quintessential Giant. How do you want people to remember Chris Snee in Giants history?
A: I gave it everything I had. I played through everything I could. I tried to play through this...when I watch the tape, as a player/competitor, you have to be proud of what you're seeing. I just knew that it wouldn't happen. I knew that I wouldn't be playing at the level that I expected of myself. It's time but I do want the fans to know that I tried everything I could to come back and give them one more season. I'll still be here and I was around all spring. I feel like my time here was not of at waste in the spring. I was able to work with a lot of young guys and I hope that helps them translate.
Q: When you were drafted, you knew you would play for your father-in-law at some point. Could you have known, 10 years later, you and your wife with the three boys and just the whole decade?
A: No. It's been a great run but to stand here and say that I imagined for everything to have happened, to win those championships, I'd be lying to you. I didn't think this run would be as successful but now that I am here and have gotten to know coach very well and the guy I am. We have the same goals and same team aspect in mind. We're extremely hard workers and that, in the long run, will pay off.
Q: What did you want to leave your teammates with? Especially your fellow o-linemen. You being the most senior guy in the room and now that you're not there.
A: Now it's time for someone else to step up. The same way I had to the same day Richie and Shaun left that day. I went to coach and said I'm not a big rah-rah guy, but I'll lead the way that I can. That's the nature of the game. There's change every year and it's tough this year with David (Baas) and Kevin (Boothe), you have younger guys and younger vets that need to step up. But I think there are character guys in that room and guys who are looking to rectify their reputation of the o-line.
Q: Will you continue to call Tom ‘Coach?'
A: Yeah, absolutely. That's out of respect and he's a coach. Every coach along the way I've had, I still call coach.
Q: When you look back on that offensive line with Kareem, Shaun, Richie, and everybody, what's that memory that sticks out about the rest? Is it the two 1,000-yard running backs in one year, the Super Bowls, what memory sticks out in your mind?
A: I think it was just the day to day. We had fun. We loved coming in, we learned to back off one another. It was just a fun group to be around, but also when we hit the field, it was work. I knew what Kareem would do and Shaun would do. We all knew we had each other's backs. It's tough to pinpoint one memory of that group.
Q: The father-in-law/player situation is a pretty unique situation. When you look back on it how do you view the totality of the whole thing and how it went over the years?
A: It's kind of worked out the way that I'm sure both of us imagined. We both have the same visions in mind, the same ‘team-first' mindset. When I'm here, I'm a player and he's coach. That didn't change ... He expected a lot out of me, but nothing more than he did out of any other player and that was expected from a man of integrity.
Q: Some guys retire and leave; they go back home. Will you stay? Do you know yet?
A: We'll stay in the area, but you probably won't see me for a couple weeks. I'm going to need to disappear, but I'm not going to uproot and move to California like Richie did. I'm going to stay here. This is home. My kids love the games. They're going to want to come. I'm going to want to go. It's going to be tough at first. but that's the way life goes. It's the end we want.
Q: You were hoping to get one more year so this did not blindside you as far as looking way down the road. You had an exit strategy in mind...
A: Yeah, I knew it was coming, I just - everyone just - kind of wants that Strahan ending... That's wishful thinking. I know I'm not entitled to anything but I would like to play one more game and not have a performance like Carolina in my mind, but I don't think I could've made it any better. That's another reason why it was an easy decision to make.
Q: Do you think you want to coach? Somewhere, somehow, some way?
A: I'll start at the high school level, somewhere in there. I don't know if I'll ever make it to this level unless... My wife and I are really going to hang out in the next few weeks, but she told me I need to find a job after that.
Q: But you know what that [coaching] entails...
A: Yeah, I'm not ready for this type of commitment. I do love the game and it's hard for me to picture myself not being around it, so I'll find some high school or somewhere to volunteer and get my football fix and have the scoreboard.
Q: How do you think you accomplished what you did? You remember that first game, or that game where Glover did a pretty good job on you in Dallas.
A: I've always kind of been self-motivated and extremely hard on myself. I think that's worked for me. That feeling I had when I was talking about that Dallas game when he handed it to me, I didn't want to feel like that. There's nothing worse than when you're in a film study the next day and you're the guy who's holding your team back. That's not a good feeling. That's kind of why I'm standing up here, too, because I didn't want to be that guy to hold his team back.
Q: You mentioned that you have season tickets. I think you just recently bought them. How weird is that going to be?
A: No offense to the fans, but I don't think I can sit in those seats just yet. It'll be weird, but I know my kids love going to the games. It's a part of us. We'll go. I'm going to have to trim down to fit in those seats but it's a part of our life and it'll continue to be so.
Q: You've had a lot of highs, a couple of lows here. Is this the most emotional day of your career?
A: Yeah, it is. It's up there with last year when I thought that was the end. It's something that even though you're prepared for it, it's still tough to do.
Q: Do you have a favorite moment or a favorite story from your career here at the Giants?
A: My favorite moments are winning the Super Bowls. There's no comparison to that. That's what every team who starts camp their first day, that's their goal. To say that we won twice in my 10 years, it's an honor for me. The Super Bowls are special in different ways. At this time, there are so many memories and thoughts going through my mind, to narrow that down is impossible, so I'm just going to say it's been a fun journey.
Q: Looking forward, how do you think you'll come out of this health-wise? You're still young.
A: I think I'll be OK. At some point down the line there'll be more work that needs to be done, but in the immediate future, I think my plan is to just get healthy and shed those pounds that I just put back on in the past three months to try to play, just focus on my health for the first time in a long time.
Q: When you talked to us in the locker room in December or after you had the hip and were going for the elbow, you kind of joked. You said, "Well, I'm laid up, I might as well get the elbow fixed." Did you realize it was going to be this kind...?
A: I didn't. I knew it was a different procedure, but I had my elbow scoped two other times. It was more extensive work and there's only so much cartilage and bone you can take out of a joint - it doesn't grow. I think it just got to the point where it's had enough. The way I train and the way I get myself ready for a season is a lot. Like I said, strength has been such a large part of my game and something I take a lot of pride in. If I'm not able to do that, I can't play the game the way I know how.
Q: What would you like to say to Giants fans?
A: Just thank you for everything. It's been a great run. I'll be around, so don't feel sorry for me. You can come up and talk to me. It's been a great run. There's nothing I can regret, and I've tried everything.
Q: Is there any part of you that thinks that if you had 18 months instead of eight to get that elbow rehabbed that you could get back to where you needed to be?
A: I don't know. I think that the doctors did a great job doing the surgery and my rehab was the best. They do a tremendous job here. I just think there comes a point when your body has had enough and that's the decision everyone has to make. I chose to make that decision now. Despite the tears up here, I'm comfortable with it.
Q: You mentioned before that you wish you had one more game to kind of get the taste of the last one out of your mouth. Will you be able to let that one go now?
A: I will, and that's because the Giants gave me this spring to try. If they hadn't, then I would probably still be wondering what if and if I could still play, but now I know the answer.