Tuck, who announced his retirement earlier this offseason, is signing a 1-day contract so that he can retire as a Giant.
Spagnuolo coached Tuck for two seasons, most prominently 2007 in which the two were instrumental parts in a game that held the highest scoring offensive team in NFL history to just 14 points. Tuck had a fantastic game, recording two sacks and a forced fumble on Tom Brady.
“One of the first things Justin said when we talked about the game was, ‘You know who was really important and nobody ever talks about is Dave Tollefson.’ That tells you what Justin Tuck is all about. He’s a team guy, but we shared a bunch of those memories and it was fun.”
Spagnuolo gave insight into what first comes to his mind when thinking of Tuck, and also reflected on the first time he saw Tuck in person.
“First thing I thought of when I saw him was that’s the way they’re supposed to look. Those defensive ends in a 4-3, that’s the way they look. The first thing that comes to mind is his versatility and then the great character and heart that he had as a football player. I was talking with Ben (McAdoo) and Pat Graham in the locker room after I had seen him and the one thing I remember about Justin, and I look for this in other pass rushers, he had a unique ability when he was rushing the passer to always be leaning towards the quarterback. His body weight and lean was always towards the quarterback to the point where if you guys went back and watched film, there were times when he almost falls over, but he maintains balance.”
Tuck is always praised for his great play on the field, but Spagnuolo spoke highly of his character off the field, and described how he was always a great teammate.
“The thing I liked about Justin was that he never got frazzled. You brought up the point that he was a backup, but he really wasn’t a backup. We had three starters. But he wasn’t the guy that went out there first. That never bothered him. All he wanted to do was win. He was a team guy. He supported his teammates, evident by what I just said about his comments about Dave Tollefson. You couldn’t ask for anything more. For the two years I was here with him, he gave us everything we asked and was really, really important.”
Tuck will be remembered as not just one of the best defensive lineman, but one of the best players in franchise history. Due to major impact he had in both of the Giants Super Bowl wins, combined with the fact that he anchored a historically fearsome defensive line, it would be fair to consider Tuck as one of the all-time Giant greats.