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Eisen article on David Tyree


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Determined

WR David Tyree looks to bounce back in 2009

By Michael Eisen, Giants.com

 

Take this story to go! - RSS | Podcast | Mobile

 

MARCH 24, 2009

 

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Everyone remembers the incredible play David Tyree made in the last football game he played. But fulfilling routine job requirements in his next game are what most excite Tyree today.

 

 

WR David Tyree missed all of the 2008 season and is looking to bounce back in 2009

Hard to believe, but Tyree hasn’t played since he made the unforgettable ball-to-helmet catch to set up the Giants’ winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLII. He hurt his knee during offseason training a year ago, underwent surgery and spent the 2008 season on the physically unable to perform list and then injured reserve. Tyree is healthy now and the seven-year veteran is looking forward to resuming his duties at wide receiver and on special teams.

 

It was on special teams where Tyree made his mark and his fame prior to the Super Bowl. His special teams prowess earned him a spot on the 2005 NFC Pro Bowl team. Tyree was arguably the NFL’s best player at downing punts inside the five-yard line and stopping punt and kickoff returners dead in their tracks. Perhaps no Giant is looking forward to this summer’s first preseason game as much as Tyree, who is intent on making up for lost time – and lost hits.

 

“When I hit somebody they are going to know it,” Tyree said today. “I’m a physical guy. I will have to make sure that I have my feet up under me.”

 

Like all injured players, Tyree missed playing the game and the camaraderie in the locker room. But what he really longed for was the chance to deliver a big hit.

 

“Not everybody is so thrilled, especially as a wide receiver, about contact,” Tyree said. “But I am. Even when I am playing at wide receiver I’m physical. I’m trying to go in there and lay the hat on something. So I’m really just waiting until the time that I get that first ring – whether I ring him or he may ring me. But it is fun, it is a physical game. It gets the blood flowing. I’m just looking forward to getting back out there.”

 

Unlike last year, when he couldn’t run full speed when training camp opened, Tyree has no physical limitations.

 

“My knee is 100 percent,” he said. “I’m feeling great. I am probably feeling better than I was even before.

 

“Right now, I’m actually going a little bit harder. I am doing everything on my part to put this body at optimum level to perform and go at an extremely high level. I realize these years are precious and I want to maximize them. I just feel like there is going to be something added to this – for lack of better terms – legacy – that I want to leave on this field.”

 

Tyree has returned to a vastly differently landscape at wide receiver than the one he left. Plaxico Burress’ status is uncertain. Amani Toomer, the most productive wideout in franchise history, has left the team. That leaves Tyree – with 73 games played – as the elder statesman among the receivers, a group that includes Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, Sinorice Moss and Mario Manningham.

 

“It is more the amazement of being the older guy in room,” Tyree said. “Honestly, when I got in here the older guys in the room (Toomer and Ike Hilliard) were going into their seventh and eighth year. So it makes sense. It is just the nature of this football game. I’m extremely privileged to be here at this point. I’m filled with excitement. I have never been so fervent toward the opportunity to play football again.”

 

Tyree is a football fan, but he didn’t enjoy watching the game last year. He was thrilled when the Giants jumped out to an 11-1 start, though he wanted to be part of the action. Then he felt helpless when the Giants lost four of their last five games, including an NFC Divisional Playoff Game to Philadelphia.

 

“It was kind of gut-wrenching, to be honest with you,” Tyree said. “Knowing that there were areas that I could have helped this football team and, really, areas that I usually do help, obviously special teams and provide a little more speed on teams where I think we were probably lacking. And then obviously down the stretch at wide receiver I think year in and year out I have been one of those guys that if we have had situations arise that I have been able to come in, step in and do a pretty solid job. And obviously not having that opportunity kind of was gut-wrenching and having to see so many people – knowing they loved me and hear them say ‘Hey man, it would have been amazing if you were able to get in there.’”

 

A year ago, Tyree was basking in unexpected widespread celebrity. He made arguably the greatest and most memorable play in Super Bowl history when he somehow secured a pass from Eli Manning – and away from Patriots safety Rodney Harrison – for a 32-yard gain that set up Burress’ winning touchdown catch. Tyree was a guest on numerous television shows, twice made the cover of Sports Illustrated and wrote a book.

 

“I still get recognized once in blue moon, but I’m not a facially recognizable type of guy,” Tyree said. “But once they find out who I am then that is kind of when the hoopla might start. It is all in love, it is all well-received. But I think just as well as this team we are trying to move on from that moment, re-live it when we can and then relish it. But then try to move on from that moment and create better ones.”

 

Tyree hoped to do that last year, but was denied by the knee surgery. On Oct. 15, he came off PUP and began practicing, which he hoped would be a precursor to suiting up for a game. But a hamstring injury further set him back and forced him to go on injured reserve on Nov. 5, ending his season.

 

Tyree is now making up for lost time and will accelerate that effort when training camp opens and again when he finally plays in a game for the first time in 18 months.

 

“I look forward to having the stamina and strength to be able to contribute,” Tyree said. “I’m not worried about how other people feel or what they feel I can do. I really know that I can balance (wide receiver duties and special teams play) and be effective at both at this point. And that is what I’m building my body up to be able to prepare to do. I’m going to be excited about presenting those opportunities.

 

“I truly believe that things really work together for the good. I have a tremendous hunger and desire to be back and I am grateful that I am here being a Giant. I think I will be able to surprise and turn a few heads this offseason and heading into the season.”

 

*Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who also missed last season after undergoing knee surgery, said his knee is now “99 percent.” That’s up from the 80 percent estimate he gave last month.

 

“I don’t feel any pain at all anymore,” Umenyiora said.

 

Will he be the same player he was before suffering the injury in last year’s preseason game against the Jets?

 

“I’ll be better,” Umenyiora said, “because the injury forced me to work on my legs. That is something that I never used to do before. Because I had knee problems I would not do any leg (work) at all. So now I have been working on it and I feel quicker and I feel like I can actually leap now. So I think I will be better.”

 

*The Giants were awarded a compensatory third round draft choice, the 36th in the round and the 100th overall. That gives the Giants 10 choices in next month’s draft – their own seven, the two they obtained in the Jeremy Shockey trade (one each in the second and fifth round) and the compensatory pick.

 

Under terms of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. Last year, the Giants signed free agents Danny Clark and Sammy Knight, but lost Gibril Wilson, Kawika Mitchell and Reggie Torbor.

 

Compensatory choices cannot be traded.

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It will be interesting to see what happens with Tyree. He is not a guy that gets a lot of recognition for the things he has done from the fans. Nobody has talked about him taking a bigger role in the offense, but you have to admit that every time he has had a chance to perform he has done so... the guy has made plays, and I'm not just talking about the SuperBowl.

 

The Giants have Smith, Hixon, Moss, and Manningham (do you count Derek Hagan?) They will not have more than 6 WRs make the team next year. So if you include Tyree in that mix, then you have five. If Plax comes back you have 6. But the Giants will almost DEFINITELY draft a WR and do so on the first day. And there has been trade speculation as well. So it's a great topic of debate on how Coughlin will form the group that heads into week one on the 53 man roster. If Tyree is healthy and playing at an optimum level, I personally would want him on the team, it's a no-brainer when you consider he is the best special-teamer we have.

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Interesting that Toomer is mentioned as being 'gone' already. Has he even had any interest? I haven't heard a word and couldn't find any recent news when searching. Maybe he'll resign with us for a minimum deal.

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Giants aren't interested in re-signing him.

 

Interesting that Toomer is mentioned as being 'gone' already. Has he even had any interest? I haven't heard a word and couldn't find any recent news when searching. Maybe he'll resign with us for a minimum deal.
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Interesting that Toomer is mentioned as being 'gone' already. Has he even had any interest? I haven't heard a word and couldn't find any recent news when searching. Maybe he'll resign with us for a minimum deal.

 

 

Eisen indicated in an earlier article of his, that it's unlikely that Toomer would be back because of his pointed criticism of the team during Superbowl week. One thing that you can rely on with Eisen, is 1), he'll always remind you of how he's an employee of the Giants, and 2) he always saves his criticism of guys until after they leave.

 

 

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Eisen indicated in an earlier article of his, that it's unlikely that Toomer would be back because of his pointed criticism of the team during Superbowl week. One thing that you can rely on with Eisen, is 1), he'll always remind you of how he's an employee of the Giants, and 2) he always saves his criticism of guys until after they leave.

 

yeah, very true about Eisen.

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It will be interesting to see what happens with Tyree. He is not a guy that gets a lot of recognition for the things he has done from the fans. Nobody has talked about him taking a bigger role in the offense, but you have to admit that every time he has had a chance to perform he has done so... the guy has made plays, and I'm not just talking about the SuperBowl.

 

The Giants have Smith, Hixon, Moss, and Manningham (do you count Derek Hagan?) They will not have more than 6 WRs make the team next year. So if you include Tyree in that mix, then you have five. If Plax comes back you have 6. But the Giants will almost DEFINITELY draft a WR and do so on the first day. And there has been trade speculation as well. So it's a great topic of debate on how Coughlin will form the group that heads into week one on the 53 man roster. If Tyree is healthy and playing at an optimum level, I personally would want him on the team, it's a no-brainer when you consider he is the best special-teamer we have.

 

Hixon or Moss would be the most likely to leave. Manningham is unproven, but the kid was a stud at Michigan. As you said, Tyree's utility on special teams give him another dimension.

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Hixon or Moss would be the most likely to leave. Manningham is unproven, but the kid was a stud at Michigan. As you said, Tyree's utility on special teams give him another dimension.

 

I don't think there's anyway that Hixon doesn't get a roster spot. Like Tyree he's a special teams gamer. I think one of the worst things about having Hixon start at wr was losing him in kr's. We continuously got poor starting field position after that.

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