Jan 242014
 
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David Diehl, New York Giants (February 5, 2012)

David Diehl – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Tom Coughlin Wants to Coach Past 2014: In a taped ESPN Radio interview that is set to air on Sunday, Head Coach Tom Coughlin was asked if he still felt he could coach “well beyond” the 2014 NFL season.

“I certainly do, and I’m blessed with good health and good energy and a routine that I think puts me in the maximum opportunity to stay healthy,” responded Coughlin. “The other issue, of course, is (my wife) Judy. If Judy’s healthy, and so on and so forth, and we both feel good about continuing…then no doubt will we feel that way.”

The 67-year old Coughlin has one year remaining on his current contract. Giants President/CEO John Mara said recently, “(Coughlin is) going to be our coach here next year and hopefully for longer than that, but we haven’t sat down to even talk about that yet.”

“I haven’t sat down with John,” said Coughin, “and I do know by virtue of a couple of things that he’s said that he’s trying to pick the best time. And he knows full well that we’re in a full-court press in terms of making sure that our staff is ready to go.”

David Diehl Retires: Offensive lineman David Diehl, who has been with the team since he was drafted in the 5th round of the 2003 NFL Draft, officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday. Diehl played in 11 seasons with the Giants. Diehl’s daughter Addison was on hand when Diehl informed the team.

“She wants me to play forever,” said Diehl. “It’s not very easy for my daughter to talk about me retiring and not playing football. The Giants are just as much family to her as they are to me. She’s been going to the games and at seven years old, she understands everything. She understands the game and the players and how important it is to play in the NFL. For her, my stepping away from something she loves as much as I do is not an easy thing.”

“I love football,” Diehl said. “I love being in the game, I love watching film, I love doing all of that and I’m going to miss that aspect of it. But I know I’m ready to start the new and next chapter of my life. I’m ready to not only be a bigger part of my daughter’s life, but I’m ready to spread my knowledge and help other people with the game and continue to do stuff throughout our community and charity work and be involved with the New York Giants in any way possible. I’ve accomplished everything I could possibly dream of as a football player. If in 2003, anyone would have said that Dave Diehl, a fifth-round draft pick out of Illinois, would win two Super Bowls, play in the Pro Bowl and win every single Giant award possible, people would have said you’re crazy. I have a lot to be proud of.”

During his career with the Giants, Diehl started at every offensive line position except center. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2009. Most importantly, he was the starting left tackle on two Super Bowl teams.

Diehl only missed 12 games in 11 seasons. He played in 164 regular-season games, tying Phil Simms for 12th on the franchise’s all-time list. “To be able to sit here and say I tied Phil Simms for 12th all-time on the list, I mean that’s crazy,” Diehl said. He started 160 of those 164 games, plus all 11 postseason games in which he played. In the regular season, Diehl started 65 games at left tackle, 42 at left guard, 26 at right tackle, and 27 at right guard. In the postseason, Diehl has 10 starts at left tackle, and one at left guard.

“When I think of David Diehl what comes to mind is his indomitable spirit,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He got the most out of his God-given ability and that’s the best way that you can judge any individual. He took the talent that he had and he used it to the extreme, to the utmost of his ability. What more can you ask of the guy? And he gave great effort. He always gave great effort, there was no doubt about that. You knew exactly what you were getting.”

“He played so many different positions along the offensive line and never complained and never made an excuse,” QB Eli Manning said. “He was a guy who practiced in training camp and was prepared to play right tackle and then all of a sudden in the middle of the season, it’s, ‘Hey, now you have to go play left tackle.’ He just went over there and did it. He never made an excuse and he’s never looked for a reason not to. He just did his job and did it well for a long time. He protected me for a long time. He’s one of my great buddies and just a true warrior. A guy you wanted out there. He would play injured and he wanted to be out there for every practice, for every play in every game. Just a great teammate, a guy with that type of attitude is the kind of attitude you want all your teammates to have. He was just a true professional.”

Diehl was the only Giants player whose arrival predated that of Coughlin and Manning. With his retirement, the longest-tenured Giants are guard Chris Snee and Manning.

“You play for 10 years, you’re going to have some great relationships and make some great friends,” Manning said. “Unfortunately, you’re going to see some great friends retire. Obviously, you’re happy for them that they have had a great career and they can end it on their own terms, like David’s doing. It’s sad to have a friend that you’re used to seeing every day, to no longer have that presence in the locker room. He will be missed. But I think for the other linemen and other teammates who have been fortunate to be around him, he’s set a great example of how to be a professional, how to go about your business and be a true competitor. I think his presence will be felt. He’s made an impact on a lot of the players on the Giants.”

“I’m just very, very blessed and happy to have had the teammates and the guys around here and the coaches and the organization and to be able to do it for 11 years in one place – that’s unheard of,” Diehl said. “You never hear that any more. I’m a New York Giant through and through.”

“Whatever you wanted him to do, he did,” Coughlin said. “The weight room, practice, meetings, jibber and jab at guys that weren’t doing what they should be doing. He was the huddle guy, he helped get things going. You always knew where he was coming from. He was a tremendous competitor and a guy you always wanted on your team, because he was so positive and so up front and he agreed with everything you did as a coach.”

“At one point, it’s going to be bittersweet,” Diehl said. “At one point, I’m going to miss the camaraderie, being around the guys, being in the locker room, sharing stories of the summer. Most importantly, grinding and working for the season. That’s where you start setting the groundwork after OTAs and mini-camp. Training camp is when you’re getting ready for the season, for what we’re here for and that’s to win championships. So I’m going to miss being around the guys. It’s tough, physically, as an offensive lineman to play as long as I have. I’m not going to miss the cold tubs and the physical part and all of that stuff, but I’m definitely going to miss being around here and being part of it. I’ve been here for so long, it’s been such a routine and such a part of my life, so it’s going to be an adjustment not being a part of it, sweating in 100 degree weather and doing all of that stuff with these guys.

“Guys like Kareem (McKenzie) and Shaun (O’Hara) and Rich (Seubert) would laugh and say once they were done, ‘I’m going to come with a lawn chair’ and watch practice. They never come back and watch mini-camp and sit out there in the heat. They don’t want to watch training camp, they don’t want to see that stuff. It’s definitely going to be interesting and going to be different for me. But I’m going to be here, I’m still going to be involved with the team in any way possible with different things in the charity work that I’m always involved in. I’m never not going to be a Giant, I’m never not going to be in this area. It’s just for the first time in my career it’s not going to be as a player.”

For more on Diehl’s retirement, see David Diehl reflects on life in football at Giants.com. Also from Giants.com, the following videos/graphics are available:

  • David Diehl reflects on career (Video)
  • Players & Coaches: David Diehl Shoutouts (Video)
  • David Diehl’s Career Highlights (Video)
  • David Diehl Career Infographic (Graphic)

Article on Quarterback Curtis Painter: Giants free agents: Any chance backup QB Curtis Painter returns? by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on Fullback Henry Hynoski: Healthy again, Hynoski looks forward to future by Chuck Souders of NewsItem.com

Article on Wide Receiver Hakeem Nicks: Hakeem Nicks: The NFL’s perception of the Giants’ free-agent wide receiver by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on Tight Bear Pascoe: Giants free agents: Bear Pascoe does it all for Big Blue by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger

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Eric Kennedy

Founder and owner of BigBlueInteractive.com, which is now entering its 20th season. Follow Eric on Twitter @BigBlueInteract.

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