Entering the final season of his contract, New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck is prepared for a bounce-back season. In 2012, Tuck recorded just four sacks, his lowest total since 2006 when he was held without a sack. As a whole, the Giants’ defense managed just 35 sacks, 10th-fewest in the NFL.
“For whatever reason it is, I feel more alive in a football sense than I have in a long time,” said Tuck, according to ESPN.com. “And that is a huge motivation for me this year.”
That must be music to the ears of defensive coordinator Perry Fewell given the uncertainty surrounding Jason Pierre-Paul. One of the NFL’s best outside rushers, Pierre-Paul recently underwent back surgery, and his availability for Week 1 remains in question.
There’s no doubt that the Giants will seek to bring Tuck back once his contract expires. Tuck is a great leader and one of the game’s truly good guys, but New York needs him to be the dominant force he was during the team’s Super Bowl run in 2011-12. Despite just five sacks in the regular season, Tuck managed 3.5 sacks during the postseason. In Super Bowl XLVI, Tuck recorded two sacks of Tom Brady to help the Giants pull off a 21-17 upset over the New England Patriots.
That’s the type of play the Giants and their fans have come to expect from Tuck each week. He is making $4.50 million this season, but said he’s not thinking about his contract entering the season.
“I am not going to allow this whole circumstance to put pressure on me to perform,” said Tuck, according to ESPN New York. “I put enough pressure on myself to perform. I am not even thinking about contract-wise.”