Justin Tuck

Justin Tuck

refer to caption

Tuck in 2015
No. 91
Position: Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1983-03-29) March 29, 1983
Place of birth: Kellyton, Alabama
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 265 lb (120 kg)
Career information
High school: Rockford (AL) Central Coosa County
College: Notre Dame
NFL Draft: 2005 / Round: 3 / Pick: 74
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Tackles: 510
Quarterback sacks: 66.5
Forced fumbles: 22
Interceptions: 3
Touchdowns: 1
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Justin Lee Tuck (born March 29, 1983) is a former American football defensive end. He played college football at Notre Dame, and was drafted by the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft, winning two Super Bowl titles with the team, both against the New England Patriots. He also played for the Oakland Raiders. Tuck will be going to Wharton for his MBA in September 2016.

Central-Coosa High School

Tuck played high school football in Alabama at Central Coosa County. He played for legendary coach Andrew Slome. Growing up, Tuck's favorite football teams were the San Francisco 49ers[1] and the Dallas Cowboys,[2] but his favorite sport was basketball.[3] Although he began playing football in the seventh grade, Justin only began to take it seriously in his freshman year of high school where he originally started out as a quarterback before changing positions to tight end and defensive end.[3] His accolades include earning Alabama Class 4A Player of the Year as a senior in 2000,[4] as well as lettering in football at both linebacker and tight end.[4] For his career at Central-Coosa, Tuck recorded 492 tackles with 37 sacks, 26 forced fumbles, and 17 fumble recoveries.[4] As a tight end, Tuck had 115 catches for 2,106 yards and 17 touchdowns.[4] Subsequently, Tuck also won two state championships as a member of the high school basketball team.[3]

College career

Tuck received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Notre Dame, where he played for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team from 2001 to 2004. After redshirting his 2001 freshman year,[5] Tuck played sparingly in his sophomore season. Playing only 180 minutes for the season, Tuck recorded his first collegiate sack against Michigan State. And despite his limited playing time and solo start (vs. Rutgers), Tuck was named a third-team freshman All-American by The Sporting News.[6] Tuck increased his production in his final two seasons at Notre Dame. In 2003, he finished the season with 13.5 sacks, 19 tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles before suffering a knee injury against Syracuse.[5] Tuck frequently encountered double-team coverage in 2004. Despite a lingering knee problem from the previous season and not playing in Notre Dame's Insight.com Bowl loss to Oregon State, Tuck still finished the season with 47 tackles, six sacks and 14 stops for losses.[4]

Nicknamed The Freak by his teammates for his raw athleticism,[2] Tuck holds several defensive records at Notre Dame. Topping the previous record mark of 22.5 sacks by Kory Minor, Tuck finished his Notre Dame career with 24.5 sacks. His career 43 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks in a single season are also school records.[7] He graduated from Notre Dame in May 2005 with a degree in management from the Mendoza College of Business.

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BPWonderlic
6 ft 4½ in 256 lb33 in9⅝ in 4.62 s 4.29 s 7.33 s 37½ in 9 ft 10 in 24 reps29
Height, weight, and Wonderlic from NFL Combine; all others from Notre Dame Pro Day.[8][9]

In the run-up to the 2005 NFL Draft Tuck also recorded a wind-aided 4.56 in the 40-yard dash as well as a 380-pound bench press, 560-pound squat and a 336-pound power clean. Pre-draft reports contended that the knee injury would keep teams from taking Tuck in the 1st round. He was known as "terrific athlete who is a disruptive force up the field. Breaks down well playing with leverage, rarely off his feet and tough to move from his angle of attack," and "an extremely quick and agile player who possesses very good strength for a player of his size."[9]

New York Giants

"Every defensive end who is going to be picked in the first round is going to be a good pick for whoever they're chosen by, but if I had to tell you what sets me apart, that would be my desire and determination to get better. I know what I need to work on, I know my weaknesses, but I have that work ethic to improve every day. I have that want to be the best player at my position, and I have the belief in myself that one day that will come true."[2]

Justin Tuck, 2005


Although projected to be a mid-first round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft,[10] Tuck was selected in the third round, 74th overall, by the New York Giants.[7] On July 29, 2005, Tuck signed a four-year contract $2.36 million contract with the Giants, which included a $737,000 signing bonus.[11]

His rookie season in the NFL found him behind Pro Bowl defensive ends Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora on the New York Giants depth chart, reducing his role to special teams and the first backup at each defensive end position. In total, Tuck played in 14 regular season games with one start and the NFC Wild Card Game.[12] His first career sack came against the Giants' NFC East rival, the Dallas Cowboys.[12]

Tuck finished the 2005 season with 33 total tackles one sack, two passes defended, one forced fumble and 18 special teams tackles.[12]

During his sophomore season in 2006, Tuck was limited to just six games due to an injury suffered on October 23, 2006 in a New York Giants Monday night victory over the Dallas Cowboys.[13] On November 17, Tuck underwent successful surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury.[13] The procedure included inserting screws into Tuck’s foot.[13] For the season, Tuck only recorded two solo tackles.[14]


"I just wanted it more. This was my time to shine, and I was going to do everything I could to make the most of it. In a game like this, you have to leave it all on the field - and that's exactly what I did."[15]

Justin Tuck on his Super Bowl performance

Despite starting only two games in 2007, Tuck enjoyed his best season to date, recording 65 tackles, 10 sacks, and two forced fumbles during the regular season. During the season Tuck spelled both Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora at defensive end and on likely passing downs he teamed with Mathias Kiwanuka at defensive tackle (with Strahan and Umenyiora at end) to form a four defensive end pass rush, a scheme defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo employed to pressure opponent quarterbacks.[16][17] On January 18, 2008, Tuck signed a contract extension from the Giants.[18] The five-year, $30 million deal, $16 million of which was guaranteed, included a $9 million signing bonus.[18]

Super Bowl XLII
Justin Tuck at the Giants' Super Bowl XLII champions rally.
See also: Super Bowl XLII

In front of a record-setting American television audience,[19] Tuck had a spectacular game in Super Bowl XLII by repeatedly pressuring New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and recording two sacks and a forced fumble.[15] According to Tuck, he and Brady exchanged playful trash talk during especially physical plays.[20] Due to the game's low score, opinions were heavily waged that Tuck was more deserving of the MVP award than Eli Manning.[15][21][22][23][24]


The Tuck legend has begun.[25]

On January 17, 2008, Tuck was rewarded with a contract extension with the Giants.[16][18][26] On March 31, 2008, Tuck reported to voluntary off-season conditioning programs administered by the Giants.[27] Prior to the start of Giants mini-camp in May, Tuck and the Giants were invited by President Bush to the White House to honor their victory in Super Bowl XLII.[28] Tuck also took up boxing to improve his hand-eye coordination.[29]

Due to Michael Strahan's retirement, Tuck was promoted to starting defensive end. When asked about the pressure of replacing Strahan, Tuck replied "Pressure? No, I'm smart enough to realize there's only one Strahan and there will always only be one Strahan. I'm not trying to replace Michael Strahan. I'm just trying to fill in and do my best to help this football team win. I'm not pinning that pressure on my back, as far as going out there and getting 22 sacks in a season."[30] But Tuck started his 2008 campaign in Michael Strahan-like fashion by sacking Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell in the first play of the season opener.[31] The Giants went on to defeat their division rivals the Washington Redskins 16–7.[32] Tuck followed his exceptional performance in week one with an outstanding performance against the St. Louis Rams.[33] Tuck finished the game with 2.0 sacks and an interception return for a touchdown in a Giants victory in week two.[33] The interception and touchdown marked the first of Tuck's professional career.[33] The touchdown was his first since his junior season at Notre Dame.[25]

Tuck totaled 66 tackles, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles, two passes deflected and one interception. Tuck's stellar play in 2008 earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl as one of the NFC's starting defensive ends.[34] He was also voted to All-Pro for the first time in his career.[35]


Tuck and the Giants entered the 2009 season as one of the favorites for the NFC to go the Super Bowl. With the return of teammate Osi Umenyiora, Tuck hoped to see fewer double teams than he did during the end of the 2008 season.

Tuck played very well in the season opener against the Washington Redskins on September 13, 2009. Tuck recorded two tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, and a pass deflection, helping the Giants win 23–17. After the game, Tuck was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Tuck sustained an injured left shoulder when he was tripped by a Cowboys’ lineman Flozell Adams in September, which affected his play for the rest of 2009. He ended the season with 60 tackles, six sacks, six forced fumbles, and eight pass deflections. For his efforts, Tuck was voted an alternate in the 2010 Pro Bowl.


Tuck continued to perform at a high level throughout the 2010 season and, along with Osi Umenyiora, proved why New York's pair of defensive ends are among the most feared in the league.

Tuck recorded career highs in total tackles (76) and forced fumbles (6). He also finished the season with 11.5 sacks, a half a sack shy of tying his career best 12 sacks from 2008. Tuck's greatest individual efforts came in games against the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles. In Week 4, against Chicago, Tuck accounted for 3 of the defense's 10 total sacks, and had a forced fumble in a game the Giants won 17–3. In Week 15, against Philadelphia, Tuck had 1.5 sacks in a losing effort to the Eagles.

The Giants finished 10–6 and missed the playoffs after losses to the Eagles, who won the NFC East, as well as the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Tuck was named as an alternate to the 2011 Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams. In 2010, Justin Tuck was placed at number 60 in the Top 100 Players of 2011.


Tuck with the Giants in 2012.

Tuck battled injuries in the 2011-2012 season. He started in only 11 games. He had 26 tackles and 5 sacks in the regular season. However, in the postseason he played in all four of the Giants games and had 3.5 sacks, 2 of which came in the Super Bowl. The Giants went on to win Super Bowl XLVI. It was Tuck's 2nd Super Bowl ring in 5 years. Many believed that Tuck was a primary candidate for Super Bowl MVP because of his performance in the game, but quarterback Eli Manning won the MVP just like in 2008. After the game, Tuck joked that Manning "stole my MVP again."

Oakland Raiders


Tuck in 2014.

On March 13, 2014, Tuck signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Oakland Raiders. Tuck said he signed the deal because the deal that the New York Giants offered was "disrespectful." Tuck still respects the players on the Giants (Victor Cruz and Eli Manning) as brothers and still keeps up with his former teammates.[36]


On October 15, 2015, Tuck was placed on the team's injured reserve due to a chest injury.[37]


Tuck announced his retirement on February 1, 2016 after 11 seasons.[38] On May 6, 2016, Tuck signed a one-day contract with New York to retire as a Giant.[39]



Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Year Team G GS Total Solo Sck Sfty Int Yds Avg Lng TD FF FR
2005 NYG 14 1 31 26 1.0 0 - - - - - 1 1
2006 NYG 6 0 10 6 0 0 - - - - - 0 0
2007 NYG 16 2 65 48 10.0 0 - - - - - 2 0
2008 NYG 16 16 67 52 12.0 0 1 41 41.0 41T 1 3 0
2009 NYG 16 15 59 44 6.0 0 - - - - - 5 0
2010 NYG 16 16 76 48 11.5 0 - - - - - 6 5
2011 NYG 12 11 37 26 5.0 0 - - - - - 1 0
2012 NYG 15 14 45 27 4.0 0 - - - - - 0 0
2013 NYG 16 15 63 41 11.0 0 1 -2.0 -2.0 -2.0 0 2 0
2014 OAK 15 12 43 37 5.0 0 1 7 7 7 0 2 0
2015 OAK 5 5 14 7 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016 NYG 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - -
Total 147 111 510 353 66.5 0 3 46 13.3 41 1 22 6

Personal life

Justin Tuck at the NY Knicks vs Miami Heat (May 2012)

Justin Tuck is married to Lauran Williamson of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and his parents are Jimmy Lee and Elaine Tuck.[41] His wife graduated from Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business in 2005. She played the defensive back position in women's intramural football and wrote for the student newspaper. She began dating Tuck during his junior year.

Jimmy Lee Tuck, Justin's father, built the home that has housed his eight children and spouse by hand in 1973.[3][41] During his childhood, Justin was nicknamed "He-Man" due to his large stature.[41] He would run through his home yelling catchphrases from Masters of the Universe such as "By the power of Grayskull!" or "I have the power!".[41] During his youth, Tuck frequently attended Elam II Missionary Baptist Church in his native Kellyton, resulting in Justin becoming the congregation's youngest Sunday School instructor. Justin is cousins with current Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and former New England Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas.[41]

After the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, Tuck achieved a new level of celebrity in his native Alabama. "It was interesting when I went home (to Alabama)," Tuck said. "You couldn't go anywhere without people asking for your autograph or telling you congratulations or how proud they were of you and things like that."[27] The newfound celebrity also extended to New York, where Tuck and Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer were honored by Congressman Charles Rangel at the ball field at Harlem River Park on February 20, 2008.[42] The community celebration was in honor of the Giants' Super Bowl XLII victory.[43] Three days later, he and several Giants players were honored as "special guests" during a historic title unification bout in Madison Square Garden between heavyweight boxers Wladimir Klitschko and Sultan Ibragimov.[44]

The following month, Tuck was again honored for his Super Bowl performance. He exchanged a game-worn football jersey for a game-used hockey stick with New York Rangers captain Jaromír Jágr. After only his second ice hockey game, Tuck quipped "I am hooked. It's football on ice."[45] He is a Rangers fan.

Tuck has participated in various philanthropic causes. Tuck and Giants teammate Michael Strahan teamed up with Nike to design their own exclusive pair of sneakers for ID studio in New York City. All proceeds of the sneakers were donated to Nike’s Let Me Play global campaign. Tuck was also featured on the second season of "Cake Boss" when he ordered a cake shaped like a billiards table for the first annual celebrity billiards event for his charity "Tuck's Rush for Literacy."[46]


  1. "Chat with Justin Tuck". ESPN. 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  2. 1 2 3 Robinson, Jon (March 29, 2005). "Justin Tuck Interview: The Freak talks Notre Dame, the draft, and Madden.". IGN. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Eisen, Michael. "Did you Know?". Giants.com. Retrieved 2008-04-05.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Justin Tuck, DE, Notre Dame". USA Today. 2005-05-18. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
  5. 1 2 "Scout.com Justin Tuck profile". Scout.com. 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
  6. "Justin Tuck profile". Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Official Athletic Site. 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
  7. 1 2 "Justin Tuck's Career". Giants.com. 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
  8. "Justin Tuck". NFL Draft Scout. March 25, 2006. Retrieved April 16, 2009.
  9. 1 2 "Justin Tuck, DE, Notre Dame". USA Today. March 25, 2006. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
  10. "Sports Illustrated: 2005 NFL Draft Player Profile". SI.com. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  11. "USA Today NFL salary database". USA Today. March 25, 2010. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
  12. 1 2 3 "Player - Justin Tuck - Giants.com". Giants.com. January 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  13. 1 2 3 Eisen, Michael (November 15, 2006). "Giants Lose Tuck for Season". Giants.com. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  14. "SI.com-NFL Justin Tuck Player Page". SI.com. January 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  15. 1 2 3 Hubbuch, Bart (February 4, 2008). "Tuck, Spags Enjoy Plenty Of Sack-Cess". New York Post. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
  16. 1 2 Donnelly, Mike (February 1, 2008). "Justin Tuck - Dealing With Family Ties". NFLPlayers.com. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
  17. "Justin Tuck DL New York Giants". USA Today. Archived from the original on October 17, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  18. 1 2 3 Garafolo, Mike (2008-01-18). "Giants, Tuck agree on five-year extension". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  19. Bauder, David (2008-02-04). "Record 97.5 million watched Super Bowl". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
  20. Hollander, Dave (2008-02-07). "Meet Brady's Worst Nightmare". AOL. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  21. Jackson, Tom, SportsCenter (post-game analysis) from ESPN, 3 Feb 2008.
  22. Murphy, Dan "Who deserved to be MVP of Super Bowl XLII?: Justin Tuck" from The (Philadelphia) Bulletin, 5 Feb 2008.
  23. Croley, Timothy "Super Bowl XLII MVP: Not Eli Manning" from Bleacher Report, 4 Feb 2008.
  24. Vaccaro, Mike (2008-02-05). "The Reasons: 42 Ways to Super Stun-day". New York Post. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  25. 1 2 LaPointe, Joe (2008-09-14). "Tuck Makes Sure His Moment Is Memorable". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  26. Pasquarelli, Len (January 18, 2008). "Giants agree with DE Tuck on $30 million extension". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  27. 1 2 "Giants begin offseason conditioning". SI.com. Associated Press. 2008-03-31. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  28. Office of the Press Secretary (April 30, 2008). "President Bush Welcomes Super Bowl XLII Champion New York Giants to White House". The White House. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
  29. Vacchiano, Ralph (2008-09-06). "STuck using hands-on technique to replace retired Strahan, injured Osi". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  30. Schwartz, Paul (June 10, 2008). "Tuck in no rush to replace legend". New York Post. Retrieved 2008-06-10.
  31. "Giants' defense has little problem shutting down new-look Redskins". ESPN. Associated Press. 2008-09-04. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  32. "Super start for Giants, then a battle for victory". MSNBC.com. Associated Press. 2008-09-04. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  33. 1 2 3 "Manning tosses three TDs; defense sacks Bulger six times in win". ESPN.com. Associated Press. 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  34. Eisen, Michael. "Six Giants named to Pro Bowl". Giants.com. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  35. "Ravens safety Reed is only unanimous selection to All-Pro team". Associated Press. Associated Press. 2009-01-13. Retrieved 2009-01-13.
  36. Justin Tuck heading to Raiders
  37. Alper, Josh (October 15, 2015). "Report: Raiders to place Justin Tuck on injured reserve". NBCSports.com. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  38. http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000630928/article/justin-tuck-announces-retirement-after-11-seasons
  39. https://twitter.com/giants/status/728651482946379776
  40. "Justin Tuck, DE for the New York Giants at". NFL.com. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
  41. 1 2 3 4 5 Manahan, Kevin (2008-01-30). "NY Giants' Justin Tuck has roots in Alabama". NJ.com. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  42. Cannizzaro, Mark (2008-02-20). "Coughlin, Giants Eye 4-Year Deal". New York Post. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  43. "Charles Rangel News Release". Press Release. 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  44. Johnson, Richard (2008-02-28). "We Hear...". New York Post. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  45. "Tuck Meets Puck". New York Post. 2008-03-30. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  46. Garafolo, Mike (2008-02-20). "The Giants Get Their Design On". Complex Magazine. Retrieved 2008-03-10.

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