Tuck talks about what's weighed him down

January, 31, 2013
1/31/13
7:43
PM ET
Justin Tuck is motivated to get back to having a "normal Justin Tuck year."

And the defensive end thinks it's time to block everything out and just play.

The Giants' defensive captain wonders if he has been too preoccupied with always trying to do everything the right way as a leader and player recently and whether that has affected his play. He finished with four sacks last season and has a total of nine sacks in the past two seasons after collecting 11.5 sacks in 2010.

"I played with Antonio (Pierce), Michael Strahan, a lot of guys that showed me the ropes," Tuck said on ESPN New York 98.7 in New Orleans on Thursday. "Every team is different. And it is hard to find that button to push with every team. I think to me, a lot of times you want to be so correct that it weighs you down and I think I’ve allowed that to happen to me the last two years."

Tuck takes his role as a captain seriously and is always concerned about how to lead, when to be vocal and what buttons to push.

"The next chapter for me is just saying I am going to go out and play," Tuck said. "And not worry about what people say and not even worry about the outcome. Let the outcome happen.

"The last couple of years I have tried to make the outcome what I wanted it to be instead of just saying go out there and give 100 percent and whatever happens, don’t have any regrets about it. I am not going to worry about what other people say because I know what I put into this game."

Last December, Pierce said Tuck has not been the same player for a few years now. Pierce, the former Giants defensive captain, won a Super Bowl with Tuck during the 2007 season.

"I played with Justin Tuck and have a tremendous respect for him," Pierce said in December on ESPN New York 98.7. "But he has not been the same player emotionally, mentally or his play in the last three years. It's just the facts. He came on late last season and once Antrel Rolle and a couple of other guys said he had to pick it up, but for the most part, he's a situation, third-down, passing situation defensive end."

Tuck disagreed with Pierce's assessment on Thursday.

"He said three years... I think I made the Pro Bowl three years ago," Tuck joked. "I understand where he is coming from. I respect Antonio. I have a tremendous respect and won a Super Bowl with him. But do I agree with him? No. I know the nights when I got out of bed to go watch film and my wife is like what are you doing? I know what I have invested in trying to be the leader that this team needs."

Osi Umenyiora may not know where he will be playing next season but he says he does know one thing -- Tuck will return with a vengeance this coming season.

"Justin Tuck I think is going to have his best year as a pro this year," Umenyiora told reporters in New Orleans on Thursday. "I’m calling that right now. You guys give me credit when it happens. I just have that feeling about him. I have that feeling."
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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