One of the stabilizing forces on the Giants offensive line is retiring. Chris Snee announced his retirement on Monday after a meeting with Giants training staff to discuss the potential of returning for another season. Ultimately, however, it was determined and ailing shoulder and multiple hip injuries were too much to overcome for Snee to take another season of pounding.
“Really, it’s been a roller-coaster,” said Snee of his decision to hang up his football cleats. “When I went on IR last year I thought it was it. Then I had the fire to play again. I sat down with Jerry Reese and told him my intentions, asked him if he thought I could still play and he said yes. He said he would give me the opportunity to work this spring and see if my body would hold up. It was going great, I wasn’t lying to you guys when I said in May it was great. But I was feeling good. I started OTAs and practice and things went south in a hurry.”
The 10 year veteran was a key on the Giants two super bowl championship teams, showcasing impressive leadership in times of adversity. The Giants were hoping Snee would return this season and provide the leadership and presence within the locker room which the Giants lacked last season in his absence.
“It’s been an honor,” mentioned Snee of his time with the Giants. “I couldn’t imagine playing for any other team. It’s a class organization. The fact that they gave me the opportunity this spring is exactly what I’m talking about when I mean ‘class organization.’ They didn’t have to. They also were prepared for this and have a lot of guys who can play but I’m going to miss it.”
On the field, his absence leaves vulnerability in the offensive line at the tackle position. The line struggled without Snee last season, surrendering 39 sacks, and leaving Eli Manning flustered and flushed out of the pocket early and often. Now, with Snee’s absence, it will be intriguing to see how the Giants respond, and how they overcome the disappointing news that one of its leaders could not continue.
“Now it’s time for someone else to step up”, noted Snee. “The same way I had to the same day Richie and Shaun left that day. I went to coach and said I’m not a big rah-rah guy, but I’ll lead the way that I can. That’s the nature of the game. “
In terms of Snee’s on-field replacement, it is likely to be John Jerry who the Giants acquired from Miami. Jerry is an adequate replacement, but not nearly of the quality or character that Snee possesses. Interestingly, while most players say they will stay close to an organization, this situation has special significance. Snee married Coughlin’s daughter during his rookie season and has given Coughlin three grandchildren.
The Giants will have to adapt to this change, and how they do so, and who they do it with will have a significant impact on the season.