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He was a hero, a villain, and now he’s out of the job. David Tyree, the man who made the infamous helmet catch against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, was cut by the Giants to meet the 53-man roster requirement on Saturday.
He wasn’t a starter, or even an everyday player. Believe it or not, Tyree was a pro bowler once in his career, in 2005 as a special teams player. In fact, he was mainly used as a special team-er for most of his career. As a wide receiver, he only amassed over 200 yards receiving in a season once (2003).
Even in college, Tyree wasn’t the main focus. He was a two-year starter, and started every game during his senior year, but was used more as a punt returner and for kickoff and punt coverage. He was a sixth round pick for the Giants and expectations were simply for him to produce with the special teams unit.
During the 2007 season, he was barely used. He only had four receptions for 35 yards all season. He was buried on the depth chart and wasn’t expecting to see much action come playoff time.
It was Super Bowl XLII, and the hopes of the Giants rested on the combination of Plaxico Burress and Eli Manning. However, in the fourth quarter trailing 7-3, Tyree caught a Manning pass to put the Giants up; it was his first touchdown catch of the season. After having little impact on the regular season, this seemed to be the best thing that happened to Tyree all night. Well, as everyone knows, that didn’t quite work out like that.
It was third down and five yards to go with just over a minute left. Eli Manning scrambled and almost went down on a sack. He chucked the ball 32 yards in the Tyree’s vicinity. He reached up and grabbed it, full extension, with the only option to squeeze the ball against his helmet. Rodney Harrison did everything he could, short of punching and kicking, and was able to pull him back stretching him in an awkward position. In the end, Tyree somehow held on and was able to give Manning the chance to make a connection to Burress for the touchdown and the lead.
It is a play Pats fans will never forget. The near perfect season was gone and another Super Bowl slipped through their fingers, but not Tyree’s. It was a hard loss to swallow and New England still hasn’t really recovered. It’s up there with the ball going through Buckner’s legs, or the entire Mark Blount era for the Celtics. Now, he’s gone and it seems that it is two years too late.
It’s hard to say that David Tyree will have a career now. He was not a standout receiver, and never had the big numbers or was a full starter in the league. He is coming off missing the 2008 season with a hamstring injury and doesn’t seem to be in great form again, leading to his release. Tyree could make another team again as a special teams player…and it could it be New England.
New Englanders have seen it lately, no one player is important than the team. Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, and Rodney Harrison are all now gone after playing with the Pats last season. Should David Tyree be considered a strong contributor to the team, Bill Belichick would be more then willing to pull the trigger on bring him to the Patriots. With his age, 29, and history of injuries, the team would more then likely look for a younger player to fill the role, but veterans are certainly welcomed to New England.
For fans, it would be hard for Tyree to be welcomed to Foxboro. That catch really crushed many dreams. He is hated by many in the area. However, should he come in and do his job, all could be forgiven. Also, if he makes a ridiculous catch once in a while, you might see a Tyree jersey or two appearing (should he sign, of course). Yet, it still is a long shot and something that probably will never come to fruition.
In the world of professional football, however, you can never say never.