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Justin Tuck of Giants thought of retirement last season

Justin Tuck wasn't Justin Tuck last season. He alternately was injured, surly, and often unproductive. His shoulder injury made life miserable. It made Tuck think about a life without football.

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"After the hardships of last year, I did some soul-searching, and really had to ask myself if this is what I want," Tuck told Steve Serby of the New York Post on Tuesday. "Obviously, I'm back, and I just feel kind of refreshed mentally. I think a lot of things were weighing on me last year where I couldn't necessarily be my normal self on and off the football field. I've kind of put those things in the past now and moved forward."

Those things included the death of his grandfather and uncle during last season. Along with his injuries, there were "several points" last year Tuck thought about walking away.

"Definitely did. I contemplated it," Tuck said. "But, I think that was just me feeling sorry for myself for a little bit there."

Tuck said he spoke about it with his wife. He spoke with coach Tom Coughlin with roughly six weeks left in the season. At that point, Tuck couldn't lift his arm above his head.

"Honestly, just consulted a lot of my family and closest friends, and just realizing this is what I love to do, and I'm not ready to give it up regardless of the hardships," Tuck said. "I think for a little while, like I said, I felt sorry for myself because of the fact that I'm sitting here saying like, 'Why is all this happening to me?' I don't think I was thinking clearly. After winning the Super Bowl, getting away from football for a while allowed me just to think clearly."

The Giants -- who are increasingly thin on the defensive line -- must be thankful Tuck did not decide to call it quits at age 28. We wouldn't read too much into this news, but it's a story to file away and remember if Tuck continues to have injury troubles.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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