Joe Morris, who was the Giants leading rusher when he left the team in 1990, will have his No. 47 jersey retired at Syracuse. He currently holds or has a share or 15 records at the university. The ceremony for the official retirement of the jersey will occur when Syracuse hosts Connecticut on Sept. 22 of next season.
“I’m still in shock,” Morris said in a statement released by the team Tuesday. “I’m stunned, because this is not something that I thought was going to happen. I’m still trying to get my head around it. But I’m thankful. I’m just overjoyed, I’m happy, I’m appreciative and I’m humbled. It was unexpected, it was surprising - I’m happy, but I’m overwhelmed.”
Syracuse has only retired four other jerseys in its football history. Morris joins Larry Csonka (No. 39), John Mackey (No. 88), Donovan McNabb (5) and Don McPherson (No. 9) on the list of some of the best players to where the navy and orange.
The Giants took Morris in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft. In his career as a Giant, he rushed for 5,296 yards over seven seasons. Tiki Barber and Rodney Hampton are the only other two ahead of Morris on the Giants’ all-time rushing list. His best season came in 1986, where he rushed for 1,516 yards, leading the Giants to a Super Bowl XXI victory over the Denver Broncos.
Former Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin was offensive coordinator at Syracuse during the first three seasons of Morris’s career with the Orange. Coughlin had some strong praise for Morris after hearing of the news.
“I’m elated that Syracuse has chosen to finally recognize the fact that this young football player is among the elite of all time,” Coughlin said in a phone conversation with the Giants from Jacksonville, where he is the Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations. “We talk about the great, great players like Jim Brown and we talk about Ernie and we talk about Floyd, and we talk about Larry Csonka. I’m going to tell you something, this young man deserves to be in the same breath because of the things that he accomplished. And I would say in all honesty, without necessarily a great offensive line in front of him.”