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Justin Tuck retirement: A retrospective before his press conference

Justin Tuck will retire Friday, but he will always be a part of Giants' history.

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Former New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck will be signing his ceremonial one-day contract, having his final press conference and retiring a Giant today.

Tuck had something of an unlikely path to the NFL. He wasn't a recruiting target for any major college as a high school player. That changed after a Notre Dame scout got lost, and saw Tuck play in Coosa County instead of the player in Tuscaloosa County he was intending to scout. It was a fortuitous mistake as Tuck became the University's record holder for the most sacks in a single season.

He was ultimately selected by the Giants in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He was projected as a mid-first round selection, but injury concerns caused him to drop to the 74th pick.

During a nine-year career with the Giants, Tuck amassed 318 tackles and 60.5 sacks, adding another 35 tackles and 6 sacks as an Oakland Raider.

But beyond his unlikely route to the Giants and the numbers on his stat sheet, Tuck has been a part of some of my fondest memories as a Giant. Perhaps the most fun I've ever had watching a game was the Giants defensive beat down of the Chicago Bears, a game where Tuck was dominant with seven tackles and a trio of sacks.

But the most memories come from February, when Tuck rose to the occasion and was one of the most productive pass rushers in Super Bowl history

Those Super Bowls also saw the mantle of leadership passed from Michael Strahan, who lead the defense through Super Bowl 42, to Tuck, who had emerged as one of the team's leaders by Super Bowl 46

There's so much more to Tuck's career than numbers. His character and leadership on and off the field were, are, an example for players around the league and fans everywhere. He inspired fond memories for every Giants fan and his Rush For Literacy charity has impacted countless children. Tuck will doubtless be inducted into the Giants' Ring of Honor before long. It's a fortunate NFL player who gets to play in a single Super Bowl, and there has to be more to a career than a championship ring. But...