Inside Jeremy Shockey’s wild Giants tenure: ‘This dude’s crazy’

The following is an excerpt from the bankruptcy “Shock to the System” in “The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football.” You can pre-order on Amazon.

In storms Jeremy Shockey, during the entrance doorways of Yard House sports activities bar in Miami Beach and, in truth, he might as properly be barreling down on a defensive again.

The guy does the whole lot at one hell-bent velocity.

Shockey tilts his shades atop his head, issues to the opposite aspect of the bar— to his go-to stool— after which engulfs my hand with a bearpaw squeeze of a handshake. At forty-one years previous, Shockey is a strapping dude. Gone are the blond locks that outlined him as an NFL tight finish, however the six-foot-five Shockey looks as if he nonetheless has a dozen snaps in him. The bartender sees him and yells “Hey Shockey!” with a smile. Even although there are a hundred-plus beers on faucet, he is aware of the tight finish’s poison.

He pours Shockey a vodka-soda with a separate glass of limes.

With one “Cheers!” and one clink of our glasses, he’s off.

A dialog with Shockey is corresponding to an all-out dash of a marathon if that marathon additionally took place to be complete touch. For two and a 1/2 hours, Shockey’s mind operates at warp velocity along with his mouth, miraculously, maintaining. It’s shocking how a lot knowledge Shockey can spit out at an auctioneer’s tempo. He possesses the original skill to make a whole stranger straight away really feel like an previous frat brother in playfully smacking your leg (“Back then in our minicamp, you hit!”) and gripping your shoulder (whilst quoting a “Caddyshack” line) and pulling your bicep to relive a play and jabbing a difficult index finger at once into your chest to give an explanation for the place he as soon as cracked his sternum.

“The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football.”

Arms flailing, Shockey is so animated that the vape contraption in his arms is going airborne and splits into items. He’s unfazed. He retrieves each and every piece off the ground and places the vape again in combination with out breaking cadence, shifting proper alongside to all his superb fights over time.

On the sector. Off the sector. Shockey has been in additional brawls than he can rely. These days, he’s too good to sock some jabroni at a bar. Litigation and whatnot. However, he’s an international traveler, and let’s simply say Shockey has made his presence recognized in Brazil.

“I was always a great fighter. Don’t you like fighting?” he says, incredulous any person wouldn’t.

He proclaims himself undefeated in bar fights with the lacking knuckle to turn out it.

Right there, transparent as day, one knuckle is nonexistent. There’s now not an excessive amount of science to how this occurs.

“You knock someone the f— out. I broke his orbital bone. I broke his nose. And his jaw. With one punch.”

Staring immediately forward, Shockey then reenacts the bloody scene. He was once an incoming highschool senior when a faculty child chucked a lager bottle at him.

“It was like ‘The Matrix.’ I saw it … he threw it … and it was like … Wooo, wooo, woooo …”

Shockey geese his head on the bar with Keanu Reeves dramatics to keep away from an imaginary bottle.

This offender didn’t disguise. He approached Shockey and … showtime.

“I was like …”

Shockey balls up a fist and punches his hand with a noisy smack! that’s so loud a couple of consumers on the different finish of our bar glance over. He hooked up. He leapt on best of him. He whaled away.

When other people held his palms again, Shockey began blasting him along with his personal cranium. He continues to relive all of it, right here, pretending to bang his head at the bar best.

“I tried to kill him and he’s out. He’s f—–g out. I’m still head-butting him and his s–t’s all f—-d up. I’m like, ‘Damn, I’ve got to go to practice in a f—–g week.’ It was perfect. I avoided the bottle and killed him.”

Ironically sufficient, Shockey’s mom labored for the native ophthalmologist. When the fellow went to get his face tested, she was once the primary particular person to greet him. Luckily, Lucinda briefly hooked up the dots and lined up her title tag.

He laughs.

What a lifestyles it’s been.

Jeremy Shockey didn’t script a Canton-bound profession with information galore, however no offensive participant helped go back the league to its bloody roots like him. He was once an unapologetic savage of a good finish who handled NFL defenders like that deficient idiot’s face at each and every alternative. For everybody within the game — teammates, coaches, announcers, enthusiasts — it was once a overseas sight. As NFL offenses justifiably chased the following Tony Gonzalez, proper right here was once a throwback who didn’t simply search touch. He wanted it. Like oxygen. Shockey was once the nearest the game had observed to Mike Ditka … with a twist.

He didn’t hand the ball off to the reliable and stroll again to the huddle. He was once in a defensive again’s face, spewing F-bombs, bold him to step within his ring. Shockey pissed other people off alongside the way in which however, in each and every sense of the phrase, Shockey was once a fighter. The loudest instance of why we’re so hooked on soccer. And the way in which he did it was once by way of taking the whole lot individually.

Jeremy Shockey with the Giants
Getty Images

From Ada, Oklahoma, to the University of Miami to New York City to New Orleans, Shockey cultivated as many slights as he in all probability may.

In no time, he’s again to bulls——g about bar fights.

Shockey doesn’t have children, however one of the simplest ways any person can attempt to image what went via his thoughts at the box is by way of imagining somebody bringing hurt in your spouse, your child lady, your child boy.

“You’ll go apes—. Trust me. Apes—,” he says. “This is your family. This is your s—. These are my teammates. We’ve been through a lot.”

It’s primitive, in point of fact.

He didn’t consciously search this struggle. Like Mike Ditka lambasting Ted Karras 4 a long time prior, Shockey inherently had to let his new teammates know precisely the place he stood as soon as he reported to coaching camp July 30, 2002.

One by way of one, according to custom, Giants newbies had been placing on performances for the veterans at a staff dinner. On call for, they had been advised to get up on a chair and state their title, their faculty, their signing bonus, and sing their faculty struggle track. There had been additionally cringy renditions of Neil Diamond, Bobby Brown, New Edition. Tiki Barber’s selection again in 1997? The Beatles’ “Help!”

If the vets didn’t like what they heard, they’d power a rookie to sing “I’m a Little Teapot.” In phrases of hazing, this kindergarten regimen was once benign. Most newbies performed alongside. Shockey, then again, was once now not maximum newbies. And Shockey, nowadays, was once in no temper for bullshit. Simply attending to camp in Albany after a five-day holdout was once a scene immediately out of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” The limo motive force taking Shockey to camp had one eye and swerved in all places the street. He couldn’t to find the dorms, so that they pulled over to a truck station to clutch a couple of hours of sleep.

By the time Shockey sat in that cafeteria, he hadn’t eaten in twenty-four hours. He was once ravenous.

Brandon Short
Nury Hernandez

Another Giants participant took place to be on edge, too: linebacker Brandon Short. In the Giants’ most up-to-date follow, Short brawled with tight finish Dan Campbell. He can vividly bear in mind his temperament that day — fuming. Such was once coaching camp lifestyles again then. Livelihoods are at stake. Tempers flare. It’s moderately actually, Short says, “one of the most testosterone-filled environments in the world.” When I ask if any a part of him was once intimidated by way of this wild guy from The U, he’s insulted. Short grew up within the hardscrabble Harrison Village Housing Project in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, which had one of the vital best homicide charges within the nation. He fought day-to-day. “I’m from a tough f—–g place.”

A head-on collision was once approaching and everybody was once readily available. The complete training group of workers. Media participants. Co-owners Wellington Mara and Robert Tisch. Even a bunch of Make-a-Wish children within the cafeteria nowadays.

As Shockey chatted along with his new quarterback, Kerry Collins, different newbies took turns making a song their songs. Finally, defensive finish Michael Strahan spoke up.

“KC, looks like you have a rook over there with you.”

“Rook,” Short chimed in, “you heard the man. Get up and sing.”

Shockey knowledgeable Short he would now not be making a song. He sought after to devour. “Did you hear the man?”

Short answered. “You have to get up and sing a song.”

“I’ll sing it later.”

Side conversations began to vanish. The depth within the room increased and, for a second, Short let it sink in that completely no rookie talks to him like this. He stood up, took one step towards Shockey, and a couple of teammates grabbed him.

This time, Short was once extra forceful. “Get up,” he stated, “and sing a song.”

“What do you want me to do, B-Short?”

“Name, school, signing bonus, and sing a song. What’s your name?”

“Jeremy Shockey.”


Shockey mumbled a half- hearted “… Miami …” then a slightly audible “$3.3 million” and, when Short stated that gamers within the again may now not listen him, Shockey presented a louder, “This one is for you, B-Short.”

That was once one too many B-Shorts. Short attacked him. The two heavyweights threw livid haymakers at each and every different in an all-out rumble, crashing to the ground at the same time as head trainer Jim Fassel hurled his frame into the fray. Short describes the struggle as one thing like “alligators” and “lions” rolling round, whilst Shockey claims Short was once dissatisfied for one easy reason why: “I was beating the s— out of him all minicamp.” Barber, howling in laughter, believes a pointed “F— you!” from Shockey is what ignited the brawl.

Either method, Jeremy Shockey made one truth transparent.

“After that,” Barber says, “nobody f—-d with Shockey. At all.”

Jeremy Shockey in 2005
Anthony J/ Causi

Vets straight away liked this volatility, particularly the person who swapped punches with him. It took Short all of sooner or later to recover from the struggle as a result of he beloved that this rookie by no means gave a rattling. Fassel, too. He was once borderline giddy speaking concerning the struggle to the clicking. Shockey? He didn’t assume a lot of it. This was once any ol’ Tuesday in his international. In reality, he wasn’t too delighted about getting drafted by way of the New York Giants. For a staff that made the Super Bowl two years prior, the Giants’ offense was once, eh, uninteresting. From afar, he at all times seen the Giants as a “very bland” franchise. Mom advised him to not fear, then again, as a result of he on my own may trade that.

She was once proper.

Six days after the “B-Short” melee, in opposition to the Houston Texans within the Hall of Fame Game, he stuck a brief move, ricocheted off Texans cornerback Jacoby Shepherd, sprinted previous protection Matt Stevens — with Stevens tearing at his facemask— after which stored his best possible for ultimate. Shockey punctuated a forty-eight-yard monster truck mash of a play by way of reducing a shoulder into protection Kevin Williams. After seeing this, proprietor Wellington Mara had flashbacks of Mark Bavaro and advised tight ends trainer Mike Pope he higher upload a couple of extra tight ends like that. GM Ernie Accorsi in comparison Shockey to John Mackey, and teammates in fact couldn’t imagine what they witnessed.

Nothing was once too sophisticated to Shockey.

“Whatever position you play, you shouldn’t take s— from anybody,” Shockey says. “You’re playing the demolition derby. The strong survive. What do they say in ‘Fight Club’? Four people go into a room and only one winner comes out. It’s like that. … I take that s— very personally. I definitely took out my anger on the opponents.”

Within his personal locker room, he took on a “prison mentality” as a result of locker rooms are a unusual position. It nonetheless baffles Shockey how the individual proper subsequent to him would get reduce, changed, and abruptly there’s a whole stranger getting butt-a– bare. There aren’t many roles like this on the earth. But via all of it, like within the partitions of a jail, one transparent alpha that everybody respects emerges. He turned into that power of nature — Day 1, Dinner 1 — as a result of he was once so fueled by way of slights.

Slights at all times sparked that anger.

Anger which may be launched, in all its grandeur, on the tight finish place. His checklist of sufferers is lengthy. When David Gibson is reached by means of e-mail to relive his come across with Shockey, the orthopedic gross sales rep was once in truth in surgical procedure. “Son of a bitch,” he advised himself.

“Shockey!? I have to talk about this guy?” The occasions of December 22, 2002, have some way of haunting him nonetheless. At paintings, coworkers deliver it up. At house, his children lately performed the clip on YouTube for buddies. As the legend is going, within the lead-up to the Colts’ recreation in opposition to the Giants, Gibson was once requested by way of the native media concerning the rookie sensation and stated he wasn’t treating this recreation any another way. Then got here the cash quote: “He’s no Tony Gonzalez, he’s just another player to me.”

Those phrases made their method into an Indianapolis Star headline, and Barber once more had to prod Shockey. He and Collins passed the tight finish a replica of the sports activities phase, and Shockey’s response? Not moderately what you’d be expecting. There was once no smoke emanating from his ears. He was once calm. Creepy calm. Filing it away at the back of his thoughts. “Which,” Barber provides, “is almost worst.”

A Colts teammate additionally passed a replica of the newspaper that Sunday morning to Gibson. He believed his remark was once sensationalized however, make no mistake, he for sure sought after to ruin Shockey.

“I was tired of his arrogance,” Gibson says.

He at all times seen himself as a large hitter, too. He loved causing ache. This was once additionally a vastly vital season for Gibson. After backing up John Lynch in Tampa Bay, he asked a business 3 weeks in to get some recreation tape with a moment contract looming. Early on this showdown, he even nailed Shockey on a seam path to power an incomplete move and stated a couple of phrases he can’t repeat. Basically, he concedes, it was once down the traces of: “MF’er, I’m going to be here all day!” Not lengthy after, his international was once rocked. At the beginning of the second one quarter, with the Giants main 3-0, Shockey stuck a display screen move from Collins, became upfield, and noticed No. 26 in his imaginative and prescient. He then decreased the crown of his helmet and, because the tight finish poetically places it, “f—–g hammered him.” Gibson’s palms flailed helplessly as Shockey thundered via him for an additional 13 yards. The blow sparked a 44-27 blowout win.

No, Gibson by no means did get that coveted moment contract with the Colts. He performed another season in Tampa and was once completed.

Jeremy Shockey performs in opposition to the Colts in 2002.

“One mistake can haunt you for the rest of your life,” he says. “When your career ends in the NFL, it’s tough. It’s like a death. So, it definitely took me a while to get over that and try to find a new passion in life. It happens. You’ve got a fifty-fifty shot. Kill or be killed.”

The subsequent week, with a playoff berth at stake, Shockey’s jumping landing clutch over Philadelphia Eagles protection Brian Dawkins was once the game-winner. The two tumbled to the bottom and a nodding, smiling Shockey advised the long run Hall of Famer, “I got you this time!” This rating was once revenge for a teammate. Wide receiver Ike Hilliard’s season ended with a Dawkins reasonable shot previous within the season. Ahead of the following wild card matchup at Candlestick Park, 49ers linebacker Julian Peterson stated on a convention name with Giants beat writers that, OK, Shockey has a large number of self assurance however that it additionally hurts him. “He’ll get frustrated,” Peterson stated, “and then blow a couple of plays.” In the second one quarter, Shockey stuck a move on the 9-yard line and was once drilled by way of protection Zack Bronson who, in fact, was once as a substitute trampled himself. Shockey spun unfastened.

Shockey eyed Peterson on the purpose line. And moderately than rating a very simple landing, he entered a brand new deal with into his interior GPS to completely trade route and decreased his head into Peterson.

Shockey was once stopped in need of the purpose line, however don’t have any concern. Two snaps later, he stuck a landing.

That day the Giants additionally suffered what was once then the second-worst postseason cave in of all-time. At one level, Shockey lobbed a cup of ice into the stands with out taking a look and the ice struck two children. Shockey apologized to the circle of relatives within the locker room in a while. Yet even after signing a soccer for the children — and sensing that the circle of relatives had authorized his apology — the daddy of the children ripped him within the press.

That was once why Shockey later advised Sports Illustrated he’d “do it all over again” and that he feels sorry the ones children needed to be raised by way of a father like that.

From the cafeteria brawl in July to the airborne ice in January, this hell-raising tight finish made it abundantly transparent in Year 1 that no person would inform him what to do or what to mention. New York City beloved him for it.

He was once Reality TV earlier than Reality TV— you by no means knew what he’d do or say subsequent. The hair. The snarl. The tattoos. Nobody seemed like him, both. When the Twin Towers had been attacked on September 11, 2001, Shockey advised himself that if he ever were given a tattoo, it’d be America themed.

New York drafted him, and it simplest made sense to get a bald eagle draped within the American flag on his proper bicep. The artwork took twenty-one hours over 3 days to finish. Shockey at all times liked this nation’s freedom, too, one more reason he by no means concept two times about spouting off.

During coaching camp in 2006, Shockey referred to as head trainer Tom Coughlin an a–hollow to the clicking.

When one teammate requested Shockey, point-blank, why he stated that, Shockey didn’t leave out a beat.

Jeremy Shockey’s patriotic tattoo
Anthony J. Causi

“Freedom of speech. First Amendment. I pay my taxes.”

And he walked away.

Says Short: “We were laughing like, ‘This dude’s crazy.’ ”

Crazy sufficient to expose his sexual myth to {a magazine}. Nothing was once off-limits. He blurred non-public and public habits like no person earlier than him, and everybody were given inebriated on his authenticity.

To many, he was once cherished. Shockey’s jersey gross sales ranked primary within the NFL. An adolescent from Western New York named Rob Gronkowski even wrote him a letter. To critics, he was once a carnival act. But even on this pre-Twitter age, each teams may now not glance away. Shockey is of the same opinion he most certainly did blaze a path of individualism within the NFL and, for a second, needs social media existed then.

He then pauses and scrunches his face as though he simply gnawed on the ones limes. “No, I don’t wish that. That’s all fake.”

He partied with fellow bachelor Derek Jeter always and threw beverages again with New York Yankees pitcher David Wells. New York tabloids connected him to a string of actresses and fashions.

To the outsider, it would’ve looked like Shockey was once unhinged. All this, then again, masked the truth that Jeremy Shockey was once uniquely obsessive about the game.

He wasn’t married. He didn’t also have a female friend. His day by day lifestyles was once extraordinarily regimented. During a recreation week, he awoke at 5 a.m., stayed on the facility till 5 p.m., and was once typically in mattress by way of 8:30. He’d refuse to present himself greater than the ones 3 hours on a daily basis.

Tara Reid and Jeremy Shockey at MSG.
Anthony Causi

The simplest night time he’d move out throughout the season was once Monday — and provided that he wasn’t coaching onerous on that off Tuesday. “Seriously,” he says. “Everyone called me a hermit. I had a military mentality.” Shockey beloved finding out the science of restoration to maintain a frame he was once treating like a piñata. He had common acupuncture periods and helped popularize hyperbaric chambers within the NFL.

Even when he did drink, guilt tended to seep into his sense of right and wrong. It was once commonplace for a inebriated Shockey to bang out seventy-five to at least one hundred push-ups at 3 a.m. He had to punish himself. No surprise he took it some other degree when one bid for revenge failed. Against the Dallas Cowboys, Shockey badly sought after to make Jerry Jones pay for drafting protection Roy Williams when the landlord advised him he’d be their select at 8th general. He performed poorly in a Giants win. So after everybody else headed house, Shockey hot-routed to the load room to squat 400 kilos.

This turned into a commonplace postgame sight and why Barber calls him a “maniac” and “a foxhole guy.” And why Pope describes the soccer box as Shockey’s private “glory land,” including that the tight finish flatly had bother figuring out why others weren’t wound as tightly as him. He lived onerous. He labored tougher. The good judgment was once easy to Shockey: “I’m here to win f—–g games and go on my way. I’m not here to do all the extra s—.”

Shockey may now not know how teammates balanced skilled soccer with a circle of relatives lifestyles.

Kids? Marriage? None of this made sense to him.

“Because I gave all my s— to football. I’m thinking in my mind, because I’m so selfish, I’m like, I hear them on the phone talking about their wife, cheating on their wife, and I hear about their s— and their kids and I’m thinking if they didn’t have that s—, how good would they be? If you didn’t have that bulls—, imagine how good you’d be.”

Once, Shockey was once blunt with operating again Reggie Bush when he later performed for the New Orleans Saints. He advised Bush that he’d be within the Hall of Fame if he wasn’t courting Kim Kardashian. Just as a result of Shockey was once noticed with a fashion in NYC doesn’t imply the 2 had been spending high quality time in combination. The toast of the town says he by no means in truth dated any person the ones six seasons. That would’ve served as a 5 mph building zone alongside his frenetic warpath to Sundays.

Sex with a fashion in NYC was once something, he assures. Dating is moderately some other.

“I didn’t go to her house one time,” he says of 1 dating. “It was once quite simple: Play soccer. Don’t have any of the complications. It makes lifestyles quite simple. I really like children. But you spot it with so much with guys out of school. They have a toddler mama and must pay, pay, pay. If they didn’t have this drawback, how a hit would they be? … I used to be just right at getting ladies. Ain’t no person snoozing over and I ain’t going to your own home. It ain’t like that. Sorry.

“I just feel like I had to be responsible for the whole locker room. So if I’m worried about this or a girl I got pregnant, how the f— am I going to remember my plays? It’s impossible. Like I said, it was something that was always instilled in me. When I was fourteen, my mom gave me a box of condoms and said if I wanted to have sex to use a condom. At fourteen! So, it’s very common sense.”

There was once no trapping Shockey right into a providence. Over the years, a few ladies attempted tricking him into kid strengthen by way of claiming they had been pregnant when he obviously wasn’t the daddy.

Those 3 unfastened hours according to day had been spent caring for his frame as a result of Shockey was once placing himself via Ditka Era punishment. The moment Shockey learns what Gonzalez thinks about his play taste, he flashes the precise skinny smile Barber describes. The remark is blameless and fair: Gonzalez believes Shockey may’ve lasted a hell of so much longer within the NFL if he wasn’t seeking to demolish warring parties always. While risk free, the remark nonetheless will get lodged into Shockey’s mind … and he refuses to let it move. He shops it and sporadically brings it up right through our dialog.

When it involves blocking off, he pokes amusing at Gonzalez and says the ones KC and Atlanta offenses ran clear of him. He claims it was once by no means his purpose to play fifteen years, including that he would’ve performed longer if he didn’t have any Super Bowl rings. He brings up the truth that Atlanta went to the Super Bowl after Gonzalez retired and provides that Gonzalez “never sniffed a championship ring.”

“So, I don’t know why you play. I love the game but if I’m not winning any games, if I’m not going to the f—–g championship, I don’t give a s—.”

Most of all, he stands by way of his violence. He says that that is the way in which he was once raised whilst Gonzalez, “being a basketball guy,” was once now not.

Whereas Gonzalez understandably couldn’t imagine one trainer had him doing blocking off drills after follow, Shockey made some degree to fasten horns with Strahan throughout pregame hitting drills.

“Hey, big boy,” he’d taunt with a snarl.

“I had to work at that s— every day. The people who already have it, who are already that fast and that big and that strong, they usually don’t make it. Strahan, that’s how I learned my blocking. It took a lot of him beating me, me being upset, and me whacking him. Cheap-shotting him! The next thing you know, he’s upset. It’s a big brawl.”

As a receiver, Gonzalez left Shockey within the mud, however Barber additionally eclipsed 1,200 speeding yards each and every of the 5 years he performed with the tight finish. In 2004 and 2005, he went over 2,000 general scrimmage yards. Barber is aware of Shockey’s presence was once a significant factor why, too. When Shockey flexed out, he lured a linebacker with him. Then, when Shockey was once requested to dam?

He headhunted.

Linebacker. Defensive finish. Defensive take on. It didn’t subject. Shockey would blindly beeline towards his task.

“Every. Single. Play. That’s why I loved the dude, man,” Barber says. “He was such a great athlete but he was physical! A lot of these tight ends now are basically wide receivers. Jeremy Shockey would earhole a 280-pound D-Lineman if you asked him to, and would not be afraid to scrap it with him. He was old school.”

Adds Short: “He made a point to kick your ass just because you were lined up on the other side.”

In breaking others, he broke himself. Gonzalez wasn’t fallacious. Gibson wasn’t fallacious, both.

Shockey made 4 Pro Bowls however by no means parlayed a 74-catch, 894-yard rookie season into the Canton-bound profession many predicted as a result of he confirmed 0 handle his personal bodily well-being. He by no means performed a complete season. The damaged sternum involves thoughts first and, sure, he sticks a finger proper to your xiphoid procedure to give an explanation for the place he were given drilled in opposition to the Seattle Seahawks. It felt like his middle fell proper out of his chest.

Countless video games, his toes had been plastered with blisters by way of the top of the primary quarter and his cleats full of blood. When Shockey broke his ribs, it harm each and every time he sneezed. He suffered concussions. A sports activities hernia. Turf toe. There are mornings Shockey wakes up and wonders, “What is this?”

He can’t assist himself.

“Tony never got hurt, did he? That f—–g guy must pray more than me.”

Before video games, Shockey loaded up on Toradol and, for a short lived length, a tablet referred to as Vioxx. Not many of us find out about this anti inflammatory drug as it was once pulled off the marketplace in 2004. The scientific magazine Lancet estimated that 88,000 Americans had middle assaults from taking Vioxx, with 38,000 of them death. Here, Shockey reenacts his NFL mornings, first pretending to be sprawled out in mattress. Stiffening up, he says he felt like “Mr. Freeze.” Once he may get off the bed, the ache was once unattainable. Shockey gingerly lifts himself off the bar stool and tiptoes round Yard House. Those first 3, 4 steps, Shockey felt like his frame would utterly shatter.

Shockey for sure justified the lifestyles of public members of the family officers related to the New York Giants. Yet, Wellington Mara at all times understood that this, proper right here, was once the true Jeremy Shockey. The warrior who may hardly ever get off the bed and, with out blinking, lived like there was once no day after today the very subsequent recreation. At follow, Mara would watch on from his sideline chair and, in a while, “cattle prod” Shockey for shedding a move. Shockey beloved it. In the center of an embarrassing 45-7 loss to the Saints in 2003 — when Shockey was once injured, goofing off at the sidelines — Mara got here proper all the way down to reprimand him in entrance of teammates. Barber couldn’t imagine the sight, the uncooked sadness in Mara’s face. This seemed like a father scolding his son.

The bond was once so particular that earlier than Mara died in 2005, the landlord’s circle of relatives asked for Shockey to look him in particular person. Two years later, on December 16, 2007, Shockey’s profession in New York successfully ended when extensive receiver Amani Toomer fell into him on the finish of a operating play. Shockey broke his left fibula and injured his ankle. Thinking again to that night time, his mood boils over again. He doesn’t imagine Toomer had any malicious intent, however …

“I’m sitting there in the motherf—–g training room, and he comes up to me and says, ‘That was your leg I fell on?’ I’m thinking in my mind, ‘Calm yourself, Jeremy. Don’t f—–g grab him and f— him up.’ He took a block, it was a run play. And it is what it is. He was lazy. He didn’t do his job correctly and he broke my leg. He’s a Michigan guy. I’d never come up to a guy and say, ‘Hey! Is that your leg I broke?’ It’s like the old Rodney Dangerfield. ‘Your boat scratched my anchor!’ I was pissed off.”

Jeremy Shockey on crutches as Super Bowl XLII
Getty Images

Those 2007 Giants went directly to surprise the undefeated New England Patriots within the Super Bowl, at which level the connection between Shockey and the Giants was once damaged past restore. John Mara wasn’t the similar as his father, Shockey says, and long past was once the GM (Accorsi) who drafted him. Shockey was once reportedly dissatisfied that the staff would now not let him watch the Super Bowl from the sideline in crutches and, as the sport neared, he vacillated on whether or not or to not attend. When he determined to head, he paid his personal method to the sport. Things simplest were given more unusual when Shockey was once the lone no-show on the Super Bowl parade and each the White House and ring ceremonies.

He’s happy with that ring. The reason why it was once so onerous for him to wait the Super Bowl was once that Shockey had a staph an infection in his decrease leg.

After the sport, from a wheelchair, he went immediately to Dallas for some other surgical procedure.

“I damn near lost my f—–g leg. Did I tell the media that? No. It’s none of their business. The media didn’t know that. The Giants didn’t even know that. It’s my body. It’s not theirs.”

By “leg,” he specifies that it was once the foot space, calling this a “ski boot break.” He by no means went public with how shut he was once to shedding his foot, both, as a result of he sought after 0 sympathy. Into that 2008 low season, Shockey was once depressed. He loathed the truth that maximum everybody was once labeling him jaded and jealous. (“Are you kidding me? I put in six hard years for that f—–g ring.”) At twenty-two years previous, he didn’t thoughts the paparazzi following him. But now not did he indulge in that NYC highlight.

There was once no method he may play another down for the Giants.

The drive was once an excessive amount of. The messy go out obviously nonetheless bothers him.

Jeremy Shockey
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“S—, what else could I have done? I guess I could’ve made six all-star games in six years but I only made four. I tried my best. New York, I love the city, I love the people, I love the sports fans. But it was different. When you put yourself on that pedestal and try to do good and try to treat people right — but they build you up just to kick you off? — it’s like, ‘Motherf—-r. You built me up just to write a terrible story about me.’”

If the Giants weren’t going to business him, Shockey was once leaning towards retiring for a season to let his frame and thoughts heal. He’s nonetheless satisfied it wouldn’t have got this unhealthy if Wellington Mara had been nonetheless alive. The Giants did ultimately deal Shockey to the New Orleans Saints in July.

He had another candy second of redemption in him.

Excerpted from “The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football.” ©2022 Tyler Dunne and reprinted by way of permission from Twelve Books/Hachette Book Group. To learn this whole bankruptcy on Jeremy Shockey, pre-order “The Blood and Guts” on Amazon.

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