Mar 092020
 
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Rhett Ellison, New York Giants (October 20, 2019)

Rhett Ellison – © USA TODAY Sports

RHETT ELLISON RETIRES…
The New York Giants have officially announced that 31-year old tight end Rhett Ellison has retired due to concerns over a concussion that caused him to miss the last six games of the 2019 NFL season. Ellison played in 10 games in 2019 with seven starts. He finished the year with just 18 catches for 167 yards and one touchdown. The transaction will save the Giants $5 million against the 2020 NFL salary cap, but will also count $2.2 million in dead money.

“The past few weeks, it’s kind of been an emotional roller coaster,” Ellison said in the press release. “But the overwhelming feeling I have is gratitude. Just thinking back to all the people in my life, even before I put pads on, that were able to nurture and grow the gifts God put into me and make this career possible. I think that was the biggest thing that was the fun part about the retirement process, which is reflecting on those people, thanking those people, reaching out and just the lessons they taught me, the tools they gave me for my life after football.

“In the back of my head, there’s always that, ‘I get it, this could be my last game,’ just because of the nature of the sport. When I ruptured my patella tendon (in 2016), that was the first time I realized, ‘Oh wait, this can end at any moment.’ Since that injury, it’s kind of stuck with me, like, ‘Don’t take these games for granted. Don’t take these opportunities for granted.’ I was never surprised. I know injuries are a part of the game. There’s no way I could have told you that was going to be my last game (the November 10th contest against the New York Jets), but it ended up being my last game. But my mentality, just from having multiple injuries throughout my career, was you realize how short your time is on the field and you never really know when it’s going to end.”

Ellison was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Vikings. The Giants signed Ellison as an unrestricted free agent in March 2017. In 2017 and 2018, Ellison averaged 25 catches and 254 yards per season for the Giants, starting 26 of the 30 games he played in.

“The people I met when I was with the Giants made such an impact on me,” Ellison said. “One of the coolest things I got to be a part of was made possible by the Giants and it had nothing to do with playing on the field. The Giants opened up their doors to about 100 homeless people in Newark and created this event off an idea that myself and Jenny (Schumm DePaul) at Project Kind came up with. They just rolled with it without hesitation. It was so cool to see an organization open the doors to their stadium to people in need without any kind of hesitation. When I think back to my time with the Giants and just my football career in general, that was one of the coolest things, if not the coolest thing, that I’ve been a part of. The Giants really valued that and they valued me that way. I would definitely say the people there made this special for me the past three years.

“From talking to former teammates that have retired, their advice is always take it slow. You’re so used to going all out all the time that you just feel like you have to jump back into something, maybe before you’re ready. First and foremost, (my wife and I are) just going to take our time. It’s going to be fun just getting more quality time with my family, with my extended family, and just getting to be at holidays for the first time in probably a decade. Just enjoying my family and friends and reflecting on everything. But the number one thing for us is service. How can we find ways to serve? So, we’re going to take our time figuring that out.

“(I will miss) being a part of the team, being with my teammates, the locker room, the cafeteria, the camaraderie are what I’m going to miss most. I think the process, too, of just the physical preparation. I was kind of weird in that I loved the physical preparation before the season. My favorite time of year was training camp. I was just a little bit off that way. But that’s what I think I will miss the most, my teammates and just the physical preparation. Game days, I don’t know. I’ll know exactly how I feel when Sunday rolls around, but the immediate reaction is I’m going to miss my teammates and I’m going to miss just the physical preparation of the game.”

The only tight ends on the roster currently under contract are Evan Engram, Kaden Smith, Garrett Dickerson, and C.J. Conrad.

“He’s definitely the best teammate I ever had,” Engram said. “Rhett not only helped me with so many things on the field, but helped me off the field, too. I’m going to miss him. He’s definitely going to be a friend of mine for life… He’s like a walking teach tape. You can pull up any play that he’s on and that’s exactly how the play is supposed to be done whether it’s a route, whether it’s a certain blocking technique we have to execute. He’s a really good professional, he’s a really good technician. He’s a perfect example to learn from.”

GIANTS EXERCISE CONTRACT OPTION ON ALEX TANNEY…
The New York Giants have exercised their contract option on quarterback Alex Tanney, meaning that Tanney is now under contract for one more season. If he makes the team, Tanney will earn $950,000 in salary, a $37,500 bonus, and a $25,000 workout bonus.

AARON WELLMAN LEAVES GIANTS FOR INDIANA…
New York Giants Strength and Conditioning Coach Aaron Wellman has left the team to accept the same position with Indiana University. Wellman had served as the Giants’ strength coach since 2016, under both head coaches Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur.

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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