“At the NFL level, not being prepared means Tom Brady throws 400 yards against you,” Tuck said, via CNBC. “Not being prepared at a place like Goldman Sachs means that some of your trusted clients are losing money.”
Tuck knows exactly what he’s getting into here. And good for him. At the very least, this new job will take up less of a physical toll on the 35-year-old Alabama native.
Speaking on a panel at Wharton’s Global Forum in New York City recently, Tuck attributed his achievements in both football and business to one habit: preparation.
“My success in that Super Bowl was just being prepared,” Tuck says.
“I mean, you’re foolish if you go into that game and you haven’t done all of your film work, all of your practice, ate the right things and so on.”
“Not being prepared for an economics test — you normally don’t do well on that,” he says with a laugh. “And I have some examples for you guys.”
That’s because preparation helps alleviate some of the pressure — something Tuck learned on the field. Playing in the Super Bowl, “The people that could go out on that field and play it just like it was any other game are the ones that go out and do well,” he explains.
So now that the stakes are higher than ever, Tuck plans to be prepared.
At the NFL level, “not being prepared means Tom Brady throws 400 yards against you,” he says, referencing the Patriots quarterback. “Not being prepared at a place like Goldman Sachs means that some of your trusted clients are losing money.”
Tuck takes that seriously. After growing up in a rural community insmall town in Alabama, he says he feels a responsibility to make the most of every opportunity.
“No one expected Justin Tuck from Kellyton, Alabama to go to Notre Dame, set records. Go to the NFL, set records. Translate from that and go to Wharton? Now Goldman?” Tuck asks.
“With all that is a tremendous responsibility that I put on myself to make sure that I am getting myself ready.”
Tuck played high school football in Alabama at Central Coosa County. He played for legendary coach Andrew Slome. Growing up, Tuck’s favorite football teams were the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys, but his favorite sport was basketball. Although he began playing football in the seventh grade, Justin only began to take it seriously in his freshman year of high school where he originally started out as a quarterback before changing positions to tight end and defensive end. His accolades include earning Alabama Class 4A Player of the Year as a senior in 2000, as well as lettering in football at both linebacker and tight end. For his career at Central-Coosa, Tuck recorded 492 tackles with 37 sacks, 26 forced fumbles, and 17 fumble recoveries. As a tight end, Tuck had 115 catches for 2,106 yards and 17 touchdowns. Subsequently, Tuck also won two state championships as a member of the high school basketball team. Tuck played for Legendary coach Andrew Slome
Tuck received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Notre Dame, where he played for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team from 2001 to 2004. After redshirting his 2001 freshman year, Tuck played sparingly in his sophomore season. Playing only 180 minutes for the season, Tuck recorded his first collegiate sack against Michigan State. Despite his limited playing time and one start against Rutgers, Tuck was named a third-team freshman All-American by The Sporting News. Tuck increased his production in his final two seasons at Notre Dame. In 2003, he finished the season with 13.5 sacks, 19 tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles before suffering a knee injury against Syracuse. Tuck frequently encountered double-team coverage in 2004. Despite a lingering knee problem from the previous season and not playing in Notre Dame’s Insight.com Bowl loss to Oregon State, Tuck still finished the season with 47 tackles, six sacks and 14 stops for losses.
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40-yard dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP||Wonderlic|
|6 ft 4 1⁄2 in
|9 5⁄8 in
|4.62 s||4.29 s||7.33 s||37 1⁄2 in
|9 ft 10 in
|Height, weight, and Wonderlic from NFL Combine; all others from Notre Dame Pro Day.|
In the run-up to the 2005 NFL Draft, Tuck also recorded a wind-aided 4.56 in the 40-yard dash as well as a 380-pound bench press, 560-pound squat, and a 336-pound power clean. Pre-draft reports contended that the knee injury would keep teams from taking Tuck in the first round. He was known as “terrific athlete who is a disruptive force up the field. Breaks down well playing with leverage, rarely off his feet and tough to move from his angle of attack,” and “an extremely quick and agile player who possesses very good strength for a player of his size.”
— Justin Tuck, 2005
Although projected to be a mid-first round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Tuck was selected in the third round, 74th overall, by the New York Giants. On July 29, 2005, Tuck signed a four-year $2.36 million contract with the Giants, which included a $737,000 signing bonus.
Tuck’s rookie season in the NFL found him behind Pro Bowl defensive ends Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora on the New York Giants depth chart, reducing his role to special teams and the first backup at each defensive end position. In total, Tuck played in 14 regular season games with one start and the NFC Wild Card Game. His first career sack came against the Giants’ NFC East rival, the Dallas Cowboys.
Tuck finished his rookie season with 33 total tackles one sack, two passes defended, one forced fumble, and 18 special teams tackles.
During his sophomore season in 2006, Tuck was limited to just six games due to an injury suffered on October 23, 2006 in a New York Giants Monday Night Football victory over the Dallas Cowboys. On November 17, Tuck underwent successful surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury. The procedure included inserting screws into Tuck’s foot. For the 2006 season, Tuck only recorded two solo tackles.
— Justin Tuck on his Super Bowl performance
Despite starting only two games in the 2007 season, Tuck enjoyed his best season to date, recording 65 tackles, 10 sacks, and two forced fumbles during the regular season. During the season, Tuck spelled both Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora at defensive end and on likely passing downs he teamed with Mathias Kiwanuka at defensive tackle (with Strahan and Umenyiora at end) to form a four defensive end pass rush, a scheme defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo employed to pressure opponent quarterbacks. On January 18, 2008, Tuck signed a contract extension from the Giants. The five-year, $30 million deal, $16 million of which was guaranteed, included a $9 million signing bonus.
On January 17, 2008, Tuck was rewarded with a contract extension with the Giants. On March 31, 2008, Tuck reported to voluntary off-season conditioning programs administered by the Giants. Prior to the start of Giants mini-campin May, Tuck and the Giants were invited by President Bush to the White House to honor their victory in Super Bowl XLII. Tuck also took up boxing to improve his hand-eye coordination.
Tuck totaled 66 tackles, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles, two passes deflected, and one interception. Tuck’s stellar play in the 2008 season earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl as one of the NFC’s starting defensive ends. He was also voted to All-Pro for the first time in his career.
Tuck and the Giants entered the 2009 season as one of the favorites for the NFC to go the Super Bowl. With the return of teammate Osi Umenyiora, Tuck hoped to see fewer double teams than he did during the end of the 2008 season.
Tuck continued to perform at a high level throughout the 2010 season and, along with Osi Umenyiora, proved why New York’s pair of defensive ends were among the most feared in the league.
Tuck recorded career highs with 76 total tackles and six forced fumbles. In addition, he finished the season with 11.5 sacks, a half a sack shy of tying his career best 12 sacks from 2008. Tuck’s greatest individual efforts came in games against the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles. In Week 4, against Chicago, Tuck accounted for three of the defense’s 10 total sacks, and had a forced fumble in a game the Giants won 17–3. In Week 15, against Philadelphia, Tuck had 1.5 sacks in a losing effort to the Eagles.
The Giants finished with a 10–6 record and missed the playoffs after losses to the Eagles, who won the NFC East, as well as the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Tuck was named as an alternate to the 2011 Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams. In 2010, Tuck was ranked 60th by his fellow players in the NFL Top 100 Players of 2011.
On March 13, 2014, Tuck signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Oakland Raiders. Tuck said he signed the deal because the deal that the New York Giants offered was “disrespectful.” Tuck still respects the players on the Giants (Victor Cruz and Eli Manning) as brothers and still keeps up with his former teammates.
On October 15, 2015, Tuck was placed on the team’s injured reserve due to a chest injury.
Tuck announced his retirement from professional football on February 1, 2016 after 11 seasons. On May 6, 2016, Tuck signed a one-day contract with New York to retire as a Giant.
Tuck is married to Lauran Williamson of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and his parents are Jimmy Lee and Elaine Tuck. His wife graduated from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business in 2005. She played the defensive back position in women’s intramural football and wrote for the student newspaper. She began dating Tuck during his junior year.
Jimmy Lee Tuck, Justin’s father, built the home that has housed his eight children and spouse by hand in 1973. During his childhood, Justin was nicknamed “He-Man” due to his large stature. He would run through his home yelling catchphrases from Masters of the Universe such as “By the power of Grayskull!” or “I have the power!”. During his youth, Tuck frequently attended Elam II Missionary Baptist Church in his native Kellyton, resulting in Justin becoming the congregation’s youngest Sunday School instructor. Justin is cousins with current Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and Adalius Thomas, former Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots linebacker.
After the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, Tuck achieved a new level of celebrity in his native Alabama. “It was interesting when I went home (to Alabama),” Tuck said. “You couldn’t go anywhere without people asking for your autograph or telling you congratulations or how proud they were of you and things like that.” The newfound celebrity also extended to New York, where Tuck and Giants wide receiverAmani Toomer were honored by Congressman Charles Rangel at the ball field at Harlem River Park on February 20, 2008. The community celebration was in honor of the Giants’ Super Bowl XLII victory. Three days later, he and several Giants players were honored as “special guests” during a historic title unification bout in Madison Square Garden between heavyweight boxers Wladimir Klitschko and Sultan Ibragimov.
The following month, Tuck was again honored for his Super Bowl performance. He exchanged a game-worn football jersey for a game-used hockey stick with New York Rangers captain Jaromír Jágr. After only his second ice hockey game, Tuck quipped “I am hooked. It’s football on ice.” He is a Rangers fan.
Tuck has participated in various philanthropic causes. Tuck and Giants teammate Michael Strahan teamed up with Nike to design their own exclusive pair of sneakers for ID studio in New York City. All proceeds of the sneakers were donated to Nike’s Let Me Play global campaign. Tuck was also featured on the second season of “Cake Boss” when he ordered a cake shaped like a billiards table for the first annual celebrity billiards event for his charity “Tuck’s Rush for Literacy.”
Tuck and his family have been residents of Fort Lee, New Jersey.