Gilbride: Retirement an 'unnatural thing'

The offensive coordinator is retiring after 10 years and two Super Bowl titles with the Giants. Quarterback Eli Manning and head coach Tom Coughlin reflected on Gilbride's storied career with Big Blue.

Giants' offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride announced his retirement on Thursday after 40 years of coaching football, 25 of which took place in the NFL. The 62-year-old Gilbride came over to the Giants in 2004 after a stint as the offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills. He spent 2004 to 2006 as New York's quarterbacks coach before shifting to offensive coordinator in 2007, a position in which he won two Super Bowl rings. "It's hard to say, ‘It's time,'" Gilbride said. "To finally do it, it's a very unnatural feeling. I've been telling my wife for years I was going to do it. She moved back to Rhode Island, so I've been by myself in the hotel for three or four years. I knew this was it and I was going to do it. I finally pulled the trigger. But it's difficult."

Gilbride's wife Debbie moved to Rhode Island to help care for the couple's granddaughter. Meanwhile, Gilbride has coached an explosive yet inconsistent offense with the Giants. Although many fans have blamed Gilbride for the team's offensive shortcomings, his two rings speak for themselves, as does the respect he has earned from players and fellow coaches.

"I have great respect for Kevin and Debbie and their family, so it's not an easy thing to part ways," said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. "Kevin is a professional. He's been an exceptional football coach for the New York Giants. He helped win two Super Bowl championships. Kevin was the play-caller in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. He has done a great service to the franchise."

It's hard to quantify the impact that Gilbride has had on Eli Manning because the franchise quarterback has never gone to work without Gilbride by his side. A lot of the credit for Manning's development has to go to the man who has coached him since his rookie season.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Kevin," Manning said. "I'm really sad to see him retire. He has been with me from day one as my quarterbacks coach and then my coordinator. He really taught me everything I needed to learn to become an NFL quarterback."

Although Gilbride has coached for five different colleges and seven pro football teams during his career, his longest stop was in New Jersey with the Giants, where he coached for 10 seasons. It will be interesting to see how the team's offense functions in 2014, when Coughlin and Manning will be without their trusted coordinator.

"I've enjoyed every minute of coaching," Gilbride said. "Certainly the last 10 years with the Giants has been a special time, to be part of the bringing the Super Bowls to New York and New Jersey and the Giants organization. I've thoroughly enjoyed the development of some of the young players that we brought along. And I thoroughly enjoyed being part of those exciting last-minute drives that we seem to excel at. That 2011 season, we had six or seven of them, including the Super Bowl."

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