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Snee a big hit at charity event


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MONTROSE ­— Even though it was the day before the Fourth of July, the red and blue balloons surrounding the Montrose High School football field weren’t for the holiday. In an area where the Philadelphia Eagles used to have a monopoly on the fan base, dozens of children were running around proudly wearing New York Giants football jerseys — all because of one person.


Former Montrose star and current New York Giants offensive lineman Chris Snee was back in his hometown to run his second annual Punt, Pass and Kick contest to benefit the United Way of Susquehanna County.


“(Snee has) created a lot of new Giants fans in this area,” said Tom Lucenti, Snee’s high school coach. “I’m from Philadelphia so I was always an Eagles fan, but I switched right away. Wherever he goes, I’m going to be a fan of that team. If he went to the Baltimore Ravens tomorrow, I’d be a Baltimore Ravens fan.”


Snee said he returns to his hometown for a week after the season and sporadically throughout the year.


“I come back up and hang out with family, see old friends, former coaches, everyone that was there with me from the beginning,” Snee said.


Growing up in a very small town, Snee had to make quite an adjustment when he was drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft.


He was forced into the spotlight even more than an average player in the New York market, as he is Giants head coach Tom Coughlin’s son-in-law.


“After getting through the initial shock and being coached through it by veteran players telling you how to handle certain situations, it’s just part of the daily routine now,” Snee said.


He seemed to adapt quickly, as he started the first game of his professional career. Snee, who entered the NFL Draft after his junior season at Boston College, was the starter through the first 11 games of


his rookie campaign before an injury forced him out of the rest of the season.


Lucenti, who was the head coach at Montrose for 20 years, said he isn’t surprised at how fast his former player has been able to make an impact in the pros.


“When they recruited him at Boston College, their offensive line coach talked to me and he said, ‘This kid’s going to be playing on Sundays,’ Lucenti said. “And that was before he even played one down at Boston College.”


In all, Snee has started all 28 games in which he has played in for the Giants.


Snee’s draft year was as important one for the future of the Giants, as the team traded for quarterback Eli Manning, a first-round selection. The trade didn’t allow Snee much leeway — he was immediately assigned the task of protecting the future of the franchise.


He seemed to learn quickly, as last season Snee and the rest of his line helped Tiki Barber gain a franchise-record 1,860 rushing yards and protected Manning enough to allow him to throw for 3,762 yards, the fifth-highest mark in franchise history.


“They brought me in to keep guys off (Manning), so anytime he takes a hit or gets injured, we’re partly to blame,” Snee said. “So we have that extra pressure on us, but that little pressure doesn’t equal the amount of pressure he has.”


Even after making the move to a city where single buildings hold more people than his hometown, Snee still remembers the place that molded him into what he has become.


He even keeps tabs on the football program where he got his start.


“His first year in the pros he was getting ready to fly to Cleveland for a game and we had our homecoming game on that Friday night,” Lucenti said. “I get home from the game at about 10:30, and the phone rings and it’s him wondering what happened. I go, “Buddy, you’re getting ready to play Cleveland, what are you worried about us for?’ But that’s the kind of kid he is, he always checks up on us.”


Contact the writer: arakov@timesshamrock.com

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