Snee says goodbye, but Wilson says hello to a new opportunity.
The day before the Giants held their first practice of Training Camp in 2014, the team was hit with some somber news. Starting right guard Chris Snee has decided to retire after playing all of his ten seasons with the New York Giants.
Snee was an integral part of New York’s two Super Bowl victories, giving Eli Manning time to dissect defenses during those two runs. However, Manning and the offensive line struggled last season and Snee was plagued with injuries. The offensive lineman wanted to play one more season, but his body would not allow him to do so.
Understandably emotional, Snee took a while to compose himself and gather his thoughts before addressing the media.“I was feeling good, and then I started OTA’s and practice and things went south in a hurry. I would not have been proud of the product I put on the field.” said Snee.
The Giants and Snee are used to his high level performance on the field. Once the four time Pro Bowler knew he couldn’t deliver that same level of performance at a consistent basis due to his aging body, he knew it was time to walk away.
When asked about what it meant to represent the Giants, Snee added, “It’s been an honor. I couldn’t imagine playing for any other team. It’s a class organization.” Snee was drafted out of Boston College in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
Owner John Mara reflected on the Giants thought process in drafting Snee and said, “He’s everything you want in a New York Giant. He has toughness, integrity, wants to win and is a model citizen off the field.” Mara also described Snee as “the quintessential Giant” and “one of the best we’ve ever had”. He assured the media that Snee will be inducted into the Ring of Honor at some point.
Tom Coughlin, Snee’s head coach and father in law, was not shy about delivering his praises of the right guard, “He is everything you want in a man and in a football player. The quality of the man is greater than the quality and ability of the football player and that’s as good as it gets.”
Quarterback Eli Manning also shared his thoughts on Snee, “I’m definitely going to miss his presence on the field and in the locker room. Chris has always been a tremendous leader, he always led by example. We’ve had a great run together, being on the same team and winning championships with him has been a pleasure.”
The Giants realize they have huge shoes to fill with Snee’s retirement. The team needs its current offensive linemen to step up and try to work together so New York can avoid a disappointing season like last year.
The team did receive some good news today, though, despite the sadness of Snee’s retirement. Running back David Wilson has been cleared to play and resume all football related activities by his doctors.
Wilson suffered a neck injury last season that was potentially career threatening. However, Wilson persevered and was able to recover enough to the point of being medically cleared to play football again. “I’m excited to get training camp started. I’m excited to go out there and compete. I have no real concerns, I didn’t think negatively at all. I like to stay positive about everything.” Wilson is looking forward to having a breakout season this year, “I think the fans want to see me prosper this year and I think it’s time.”
The Giants drafted Wilson out of Virginia Tech in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. If Wilson can stay healthy, the Giants will have another weapon on offense at Eli Manning’s disposal. He has shown signs of his effectiveness with explosive runs and touchdowns, but fumbles and injuries have limited his growth as a player. New York hopes he can start to realize his potential on a consistent basis in 2014.