Season finale might be Tuck’s last as a Giant

Justin Tuck is well aware that Sunday’s game against the

Washington Redskins might be his last as a New York Giant.

Tuck is schedule to become an unrestricted free agent after this

season and it remains to be seen how much money the Giants are

willing to pay a player who will turn 31 in March.

There is no doubt that Tuck has put up the right numbers in the

final year of his contract. He has a team-high nine sacks and has

played well against the run, according to defensive coordinator

Perry Fewell.

Off the field, Tuck is one of those players that coach Tom

Coughlin can count on for leadership. The problem is that the

10-year veteran has battled injuries in previous seasons, so

signing him might be a risk.

”It’s not scary,” Tuck said Thursday about his uncertain

future. ”It’s interesting. The thing about it is I’m all about

finishing. We have a game to play and that’s the focus. After that,

we’ll handle that.”

Tuck would like to continue his career with the team that

drafted him in the third round in 2005, the same franchise he

helped win two Super Bowls.

”I think I did my part,” the defensive co-captain said.

”Yeah, I would love to be back. That’s how it is. That said, we’ll

go down that avenue when we go down that avenue.”

While Tuck has had an excellent season, the Giants (6-9) have

not, missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. They

lost their opening six and briefly got back into playoff contention

before losses to Dallas and San Diego in a three-game span

eliminated them.

Fewell said Tuck worked hard in the offseason to get himself

ready for this year. It allowed him to play better against the run

and approach the game with more edge and purpose.

Age should not be an issue, Fewell said.

”I know that in his heart, he loves to play the game, so when

you play from your heart, you’re able to do some things that you

normally wouldn’t be able to do,” Fewell said. ”I think he can

turn still play the run game very good for several more years and

then just depending upon how healthy he stays, he’ll be effective

in the pass game. If you couple that with a healthy JPP, then maybe

he doesn’t draw as much attention and he steals a couple more

sacks.”

Safety Antrel Rolle, who has been the Giants’ top player on

defense, said Tuck is having a Pro Bowl season.

”Hopefully, I can ride with that guy a couple of more years,”

Rolle said. ”He is a phenomenal guy. He’s a phenomenal talent, an

outstanding teammate. I don’t want to think about that day (when

Tuck leaves). I would definitely miss him.

”We still have one more game to play. Whatever ownership wants

to do, they will do. We’re professional and we’ll accept it.

Hopefully, we can make another run at this next year. That’s the

plan.”

The Giants will have more than 20 free agents, including middle

linebacker Jon Beason, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, receiver

Hakeem Nicks, halfback Andre Brown and guard-center Kevin

Boothe.

NOTES: CB Terrell Thomas, who overcame his third ACL injury to

play this season, has been named the winner of the 13th annual

George Young Good Guy Award, as voted on by the Giants’ chapter of

the Professional Football Writers of America. … WR Rueben Randle

was limited at practice because of a swollen knee. He expects to

play Sunday.

AP NFL website: -www.pro32.ap.org