Justin Tuck is the normally stout captain of the New York Giants defense, but he finds himself mired in a season-long funk that's left him frustrated and openly concerned about his ability to lead the team.
Last week he told reporters, "I am not a very good player right now," in an attempt to explain the shift from 2010's monster 11½-sack campaign to this year's injury-plagued affair.
"Regardless of injuries or not. I'm just a little frustrated," Tuck said this week on WFAN-AM in New York, acknowledging that he struggles with a fear of getting of hurt again.
"A little bit," he said.
Tuck has missed four games with neck and groin injuries and generally been a fraction of who he was a season ago, but he's determined to produce for the Giants.
"Whatever percentage I am on Sunday I am going to give it to the football team," he said. "I donât really care what the outcome is. We'll deal with it throughout the week, but on Sunday I am not going to sit back and kind of pitty pat my way through a football game. I've never played that way and I won't start now."
Beyond his personal challenges, Tuck said he didn't know why the Giants collapsed Sunday night against the Eagles, a bitter disappointment for a now 6-4 team that faces a rugged schedule down the stretch. This is a squad that needs Tuck to return to his previous heights, but something isn't right this season -- and he's the first to admit it.