For players who retire into the media, the biggest challenge comes from telling it like it is regarding guys who currently play the game.
That challenge becomes even more, um, challenging when the player used to play with the player whose play he is criticizing.
As it relates to Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck, former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce passes the test.
“I played with Justin Tuck and have a tremendous respect for him,” Pierce said on Friday’s edition of The Michael Kay Show. “But he has not been the same player emotionally, mentally or his play in the last three years. It’s just the facts. He came on late last season and once Antrel Rolle and a couple of other guys said he had to pick it up, but for the most part, he’s a situation, third-down, passing situation defensive end.”
Pierce doesn’t know why Tuck has changed as a player.
“When you watch him on Sundays, you do not see the energy, you do not see the fire he used to play with,” Pierce said. “And I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s personal stuff going on or maybe he’s physically tired.”
Complicating matters for Tuck is that he currently has a shoulder injury. “For me, the guy I played with, when he was there, a lot of energy, a lot of passion, brought it each and every play, each and every snap, loved to play the game,” Pierce said. “I heard him mention it last year before the run [that] he didn’t know where his mind was at, or if he was into the game. His comments this week, the same thing. As much as I want to give the answer, that’s really a question he has to answer.”
We’ve got a feeling that Tuck soon will be asked the question.