For Accorsi, the time has come

It's time, Ernie Accorsi says; time to hang up the stopwatches and bargaining tools. Time to get on with his life. Time to spend a summer afternoon taking in a minor league baseball game, not sweating out every drill up in Albany hoping and praying that his first-round pick stays on his feet.

It's all but official that this is Accorsi's last season as Giants GM. He just recently conducted his 35th draft, which he described as a "nice round number" after which to retire. As with past first-round picks, Accorsi surprised the Big Blue faithful with his decision, tabbing a DE when three pretty good ones already exist. But he'll also be remembered for trading up to get fan favorites Jeremy Shockey and Eli Manning.

It's not yet official, because as Accorsi tells it, "I don't want to announce anything because I don't want to be a distraction."

Accorsi won't admit it, but the real reason he's yet to make an announcement, which is expected to eventually, ‘officially' come sometime early in the season, is because Tom Coughlin doesn't want the news out yet. He doesn't want there to become a media circus over who the next GM will be. Which, by the way, is quite a good question. Kevin Abrams? Chris Mara? Jerry Reese? One of the Tisch boys? It's possible it could be none of the above.

But this isn't about who's next; this is about Accorsi and his final go-round.

Say what you will about his drafting track record, but one thing is for sure, Accorsi never lied, cheated or stole, unlike so many that have gone before him. And he always stood up and was accountable, from the Shockey pick to the John Markham disaster. From a media standpoint, you couldn't ask for a better GM to deal with – and person as well. Always pleasant and polite, it's obvious Accorsi was brought up the right way.

Which is exactly why he couldn't possibly retire after last season even though that was his intention and desire. Certainly not after Wellington Mara had requested that he stay.

"I really had made up my mind last year, but I didn't say much about it," Accorsi told TGI. "But then because Mr. Mara passed away and then Bob Tisch I didn't. Mr. Mara had come to me before he had gotten sick and told me that he really wished I would stay because he didn't want everyone to have to go through the transition of a new general manager on top of everything else.

"I didn't commit at the time or say yes, but then after he passed away I decided to stay."

Typical Accorsi, putting the organization and others above himself. For those that accuse him of trying to stay on one year too long, to get one more grab at the brass ring – or just to collect another healthy annual salary – just don't know the man. So many times he could have – and should have – defended himself, but he didn't. Why? Because this never was, isn't and never will be about him. Accorsi is a team guy through and through. He'll gladly take the criticism, but unlike so many others, doesn't seek the limelight, even if credit is fully due.

He's sick of agonizing over games over which he has no control. He wants to start the next chapter of his life – hopefully sometime in February.

"It's time," he said. "The timing of it from a football standpoint isn't good because I think this team is coming together and could be real good in the next couple years."

Yes, he's running the risk of missing out on the accolades that would come with a Super Bowl champion. But, again, that's not Accorsi. He's not going to stick around just to receive a pat on the back. If these Giants do accomplish anything in the next few years, he'll know he was the architect – and that'll be plenty for him.

That's also why he's so dead set on hanging it up after this season. He's not going to see how this year unfolds and make a decision. There's too much risk in that.

"I won't let myself think like that," he said. "You can't, so many things can happen. Obviously I want to leave the team in good shape – that I have some control over. But a penalty here and a fumble there, I'll go nuts if I start thinking like that."

It's now time for Accorsi to start thinking about enjoying some Accorsi time.

"It's based mostly on things I want to do," he said. "The first thing I'm going to do is take two months and go to every baseball park that I haven't been to and visit all the national parks, Mount Rushmore, things like that that I've never been able to see. You want to make sure you still have your health when you do it, that's the main thing."

A very emotional man, Accorsi claims that he's been able to keep his emotions in check during his final go-round – his final Combine, his final draft, his final rookie mini-camp.

"I haven't allowed myself to get too sentimental," he smiled. "I haven't felt emotional about any of it."

He says he's not sure exactly how he'll go down in history, and not surprisingly, he doesn't care a whole lot.

"I worked hard, enjoyed it and outlasted a lot of people," he said. "I did the best I could and had a pretty good career."

A pretty good career for a very good man.

* * *

From the ‘Giants fans will love this' department: Antonio Pierce was recently asked how far the Giants could go this year.

"Super Bowl, nothing less," he said. "I don't know why we shouldn't say that. Last year when I came in, Coach Coughlin made a point of saying we want to win the NFC East. We passed that already. Now you look forward and think bigger."

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