Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tuck Signs with Raiders

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tuck Signs with Raiders

Article excerpt

Justin Tuck has only worn four different football uniforms in his life.

Now he'll add a fifth, and by doing so leaving the one he once hoped and many expected he would wear for the rest of his career.

The now-former defensive captain of the Giants has left Big Blue, opting to accept a reported two-year deal worth $11 million from the Oakland Raiders.

"Last week, I absolutely did not see it coming. It wasn't necessarily on my radar at that point in time," Tuck said in a conference call with Oakland-area reporters Thursday shortly after the Raiders announced his signing. "But everything accelerated pretty quickly, and I'm excited. I really am. I like the direction that this team is talking about going in, and I just want to be a part of it. Obviously, everyone knows the history of the Raiders, and I just want to be a part of the group that brings it back."

The Giants selected Tuck in the third round of the 2005 draft and he represented them with leadership and class for 127 regular- season games over nine seasons with 10 playoff games and a pair of Super Bowls, both victories in which he starred.

Tuck stayed in contact with the Giants throughout the process and presented them with an opportunity to match the Oakland offer Thursday. The Giants' offer fell far short of what Oakland offered, however.

In addition to his pass-rushing prowess, Tuck has a reputation as a strong run-defender. He finished with the league's seventh- highest grade for 4-3 defensive ends in 2013, according to the analytic website Pro Football Focus.

"The appeal [to sign with the Raiders] is young talent needing leadership and the feel is just the opportunity to start fresh," Tuck said. "Obviously, everyone knows I love the New York Giants and I appreciate nine years of my career being there, but I just wanted a new, fresh start and I think Oakland is definitely a good place to be."

Tuck turns 31 later this month and had 11 sacks in a resurgent season, including a career-high four in a Dec. 1 victory against Washington. He had nine sacks combined over the previous two seasons, although that does not include 3 1/2 in the 2011 playoffs and two in Super Bowl XLVI (following up his two-sack performance in Super Bowl XLII). …

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