Tom Rock of Newsday is reporting that New York Giants offensive lineman Zach Fulton has informed the team of his retirement.
Giants are going to run out of gold watches. Another vet has retired. This time it’s OL Zach Fulton, who informed the team of his decision last night. Fulton joins Todd Davis, Joe Looney and Kelvin Benjamin as guys who have hung ‘em up so far this training camp.— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) August 6, 2021
Fulton is the third veteran to retire this week, following Todd Davis on Tuesday and Joe Looney on Wednesday. Rock notes that Giants’ head coach Joe Judge has said that Davis and Looney’s decisions to retire was influenced by family situations to which they had to attend, and that Fulton’s situation is similar.
As Rock also notes, wide receiver turned tight end Kelvin Benjamin walked away from football after being cut part way through his first practice with the team.
Coch Joe Judge said he had “a good conversation” with Fulton Thursday night.
“Zach was doing a good job for us. He’s a guy that I didn’t want to see go; however, I respect his decision. I’ll let him speak completely for himself. I would say that a lot of these older vets, they’re at a different point in their life with different things. Zach’s a guy that started a business in the offseason, he just had his son. His family is down in Texas. This is an opportunity for him to get back,” Judge said. “We talked a lot about just the duration, a career and different things. Without going into everything, look, he indicated to us, hey listen, coming out of where he was last year, your body’s in a different point than when you’re younger. You get to the point to see do I think I have it for 16 games? And you have to respect when these guys look us in the eye and say, ‘listen, I really wanted to see if I could push through it, but I don’t think my body’s at that point,’ and you can leave this point in the game with your health.”
Judge said the door is open all three vets to return at some point should there both the desire and an opportunity. He added that he doesn’t believe the retirements had anything to do with the Giants themselves.
“I know this is a demanding place. I know this is a place that will want to work them, but we’re smart about how we work our players and we’re very calculated. But at the same time, we have to push our players and train them that when they go on the field, number one, they’re safe and, number two, they play effectively. It’s our job to help these players produce on the field and put them in position,” Judge said. “It’s training camp. There’s different things that come up along with it, but I think in terms of these three vets, look, it’s not unique to the league. I know there’s been several vets that are retiring. It’s not unique to this year.”
Fulton, 29, was originally signed by the Giants back in March. His signing was hoped to provide depth and stability to an interior offensive line facing questions following the release of right guard Kevin Zeitler. Fulton had started 44 games at right guard for the Houston Texans over the previous three seasons — including starting all 16 games in 2019.
He was coming off of a poor year on a bad offensive line in 2020, but was a reliable starter in previous years. All told, Fulton had played in 170 games after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2014 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.