Literally lighting a fire under Justin Tuck

May, 21, 2013
5/21/13
4:16
PM ET
So, Ohm has an interesting story about New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, who's trying to get out of this mental funk in which he's spent the last couple of years by going to Tony Robbins seminars that include walking on hot coals:
"The game is always changing and always reinventing itself," said Tuck, who turned 30 this spring. "And you got to do the same. I realize I haven't played my best the last two years, whether it be injuries or the circumstances surrounding this team. Who knows? I knew it was time for me to try something different."

Ohm writes that Tuck and Robbins have a mutual friend who encouraged Tuck to attend the four-day seminar as part of his plan to shake up whatever's kept him from performing at the dominant level he attained earlier in his career.
"[Tuck's friend] said he really needs to get out of where he is," Robbins said by telephone. "He is in such a pattern that nothing is working and he keeps talking to [his friend], but talking is not doing it."

...

"I feel like if I can get my mind to a point where I'm saying I am not afraid of these hot coals and I am going to own this moment, then you can get your mind to own anything," Tuck said. "You might have a phobia of snakes, that is all mental."

"The thing that I got from it the most was a renewed confidence in self," Tuck added.

Robbins thinks there's "a different hunger" in Tuck now.

"There's a drive in this man to be the best that has been with him his whole life," Robbins said. "He doesn't need frickin' motivating. What he needs to be is unlocked and unleashed. He is unlocked and unleashed."

This is obviously what the Giants and their fans hope, as Tuck could be the key to revitalizing a Giants pass rush that wasn't itself in 2012 and has already lost Osi Umenyiora to free agency. Entering the final year of his contract at age 30, Tuck knows this is a pivotal season for him. I've always found Tuck's honesty refreshing, and the idea that he admits to not being his old self psychologically is a fascinating one amid the tough-guy clichés you hear from so many in his profession. But as nice as honesty and self-awareness are, I'm sure Tuck would agree with his fans that the point is ultimately not to admit to a funk but to escape it. If walking over hot coals is what it takes, then perhaps Tuck has figured it out.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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