Justin Tuck knows the New York Giants are a quality football team and, as he sat at his locker Monday, assessed the team's season by saying, "Any year we're not hoisting that Lombardi [Trophy] is a failed season."
The defensive end said not being in the playoffs is like "you got punched in the stomach" but claims his sub-par season won't keep him from coming back to the Giants next year — even if there is speculation that his eight-year career with the team could be coming to an end.
"Listen, I'll be very frank and honest in saying this," the 29-year-old Tuck said. "I plan on being here for a long time. That's pretty much all I have to say about it."
Tuck defended the drop in production (9 total sacks) over the past two seasons — as he enters his final year of his $4.5 million contract —by saying injuries have slowed him up but he still has a lot to offer.
"I'm not going to be one of these guys that stick around in the league just to get a paycheck," Tuck said. "When I can't play this game at a high level you'll know it and I'll gracefully bow out."
Does Tuck think that time has come?
"Ask me that question in six, seven years," he said. "Thats' just to let you know how much I think I still have in the tank."
Tuck blamed a "boo-boo" in his left shoulder for his minimal impact over the final two games after an injury-plagued 2011.
"My confidence in myself will never be lacking," the former All-Pro said. " Believe me, when I can't do it anymore, I'll be the first one to go up to [general manager] Jerry Reese and them guys and tell them."