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Chris Snee, New York Giants (February 5, 2012)

Chris Snee – © USA TODAY Sports Images


After 10 prolific season in the National Football League, Chris Snee will walk away. The 32-year-old announced Monday that he will retire from the NFL. Snee spent every year of his career with the New York Giants.

The news of his retirement was first reported by ESPN’s Dan Graziano late Sunday afternoon.

After meeting with the Giants this morning, the guard determined his body could no longer endure the physical trials of the NFL. Snee was rehabbing from offseason hip and elbow surgeries that cost him much of the 2013 season.

Snee announced the decision today as the Giants gathered to begin training camp in preparation for the 2014 season.

“I know it’s my time,” Snee said. “Before OTAs started I was confident. I was moving around great and I was strong enough where I felt that I could play and compete. But then once OTAs came around, I had to punch and stop somebody … obviously, we’re not wearing pads. I wasn’t able to do it. Quite frankly, it hurt.  But I thought maybe it was my joint getting used to that again. But the more I tried to do it, it became a concern to me that it wasn’t responding the way it should and actually my (elbow) strength had started to go down in the weight room.

“After those three days of OTAs, my hips were hurting. I was concerned. The elbow is an old joint and the cartilage is gone and the bone is starting to weaken. That being said, I came and I spoke to (general manager) Jerry Reese after OTAs and kind of told him what was coming. He said, ‘Take your time and still continue to work out.’ So I did that and my strength is still going down. That was an indication that I wasn’t strong enough to play. And that’s kind of what my game’s been based upon. I take tremendous pride in the effort that I put in the weight room and being the strongest player on the field. I’m nowhere near that, so I knew that even if I came here today, I wouldn’t be able to practice. You’re trying to catch up and I’ve been trying to get my strength back, but I think it’s time to just let the arm cool down.

“I’m thankful to the Giants for giving me this opportunity to try to come back, but I also told them, I told Jerry Reese face-to-face, that I would give him an honest evaluation and I’m a man of my word. I would not be able to help the team the way that I expect of myself or the way that they would expect of me.

“I am proud of where I am today,” said Snee. “To come from a small town in Pennsylvania (Montrose) where nobody thought (I would be an NFL player). When I said I wanted to play pro football at a young age, I was serious. And then when I played high school ball, I said, ‘I want to be the first guy from my high school to go to a Division 1 college,’ and I was able to do that. Along every step there were doubters, I’m sure that’s the case with everyone, I’m not trying to make my situation unique. I’ve always been a guy, I like to prove people wrong. I just always have been a guy who has had high goals for myself and really never satisfied until I get them. I’m extremely proud, but also extremely sad.”

“It’s going to be weird,” Snee said of no longer playing. “I bought season tickets a couple years ago. I don’t think I’ll be ready to sit in those seats just yet – but yeah, I’ll be here. I still have some older friends remaining on the team and some of the young guys I’ve gotten to know. I’ll be rooting for them.”

For the better part of nine years, the former second-round pick was one of the top guards throughout the league. Snee’s agility gave him a unique ability to pull and helped create daylight for the likes of Tiki Barber, Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. In 2008, Snee was part of an offensive line that paved the way for two 1,000-yard rushing backs as Jacobs rushed for 1,089 yards and Derrick Ward 1,025.

Snee will be remembered as one of the top offensive lineman to ever wear a Giants’ uniform. The 32-year-old was selected to the Pro Bowl four times (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012) and earned All-Pro honors three times (2008, 2009, 2010.) Snee was also a member of the Giants’ Super Bowl championships in 2007 and 2011.

“I think Chris was everything you could ever hope for in a player: toughness, integrity, and a lot of pride,” said New York Giants President and CEO John Mara. “Winning mattered to him. I think he set a great example for all of the other players. He’s somebody we’re going to miss very much. He was one of the greatest offensive linemen in Giants history, and he’ll be on that Ring of Honor someday.

“Chris has been a great Giant, on and off the field,” said Giants Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch. “And that is the highest compliment we can pay somebody around here.”

“Chris is a pro’s pro,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “He played the game right. He was as tough and prideful as they come. We will miss him.”

“To me, he was the best guard in all of football,” Coughlin said. “No doubt. No matter who you put him against, all of the great defensive tackles in the game, the 350 (pound) guys, the 340 guys, he blocked them. When he first came here, he was so, so committed and so driven to excel at the professional level as he had excelled at the collegiate level (at Boston College)…(This retirement is) different because not only is it a great football player retiring from the game, who has contributed so much to our team and our franchise and has two world championships to show for it, he is a highly-respected and loved member of (the Coughlin) family.”

“He called me yesterday and told me the news,” QB Eli Manning said. “I kind of knew there was a possibility with everything going on with his health. I’m obviously disappointed just because we’ve had a long run together. We came in the same year, were roommates for home games and away games that first year. We’ve won a lot of games and been through a lot together and been great pals, so I told him I’d miss him. He was the last one from our original class that came in together, but he’s got to do what’s best for him. I think he made a decision kind of based on how he’s feeling and also based on what’s best for the Giants. He’s a true team player and just didn’t think he was going to be able to help and wanted to put us in a situation where we kind of knew that early on. We’re going to definitely miss his leadership and his presence around the locker room, around the team, but we’ll still be great friends.”

With Snee now gone, the competition for who will line up at right guard opening day is now wide open. Brandon Mosley, John Jerry and Giants’ second-round pick Weston Richburg will all see time at the now vacant position.

When Snee missed time during the Giants’ offseason conditioning program, it was Mosley who filled in with the first team. Jerry sat out both the organized team activities and mandatory mini-camp while rehabbing a knee injury.

Mosley was drafted by the Giants in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft while Jerry was signed as a free agent this year from Miami.

No matter who comes out on top for the Giants’ this offseason, it’ll be the team’s most youthful offensive line in quite some time. No projected started is over 30 years old. William Beatty is the oldest at 29.

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Connor Hughes/BBI

Connor Hughes has been working in both the broadcasting and journalism fields for the last seven years. His work has been heard on WMCX, WBZC and Lenape District Television, while read on the pages of The Star-Ledger and The Burlington County Times. Connor can be reached via email (Connor_Hughes@bigblueinteractive.com) or on twitter (@Connor_J_Hughes)

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