In his six seasons with the New York Giants, Jeremy Shockey established himself as one of the best tight ends of his era.
In our continuing Throwback Thursday series, we’ll take a look back at one of the most dynamic pass catchers in New York Giants history, tight end Jeremy Shockey.
After finishing the 2001 season with a 7-9 record and missing the playoffs, the New York Giants were in need of another playmaker at tight end.
They got the man they were looking for when they drafted the All-American Shockey out of the University of Miami with the 14th overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. He was the starting tight end on the undefeated 2001 National Championship team, which is considered by many as the best modern-day college football team.
The 6-foot-5 251-pound Shockey made an immediate impact in his first NFL action when he ran over a Houston Texan defensive back in the Hall of Fame game.
This was just the beginning of better things to come for Shockey as he finished the season with 74 receptions for 894 yards and two touchdowns. His energy and physical play made him an immediate fan favorite. The play that stood at most during that season was his leaping touchdown in the fourth quarter over Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, in the Giants’ 10-7 overtime victory over the Eagles in the regular-season finale.
As a rookie, he earned every accolade imaginable for a tight end. He was voted to the Pro Bowl, and First-Team All-Pro, and was named the Pepsi Rookie of the Year. He achieved this all while helping the Giants to a 10-6 record, and a berth in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Shockey would make the Pro Bowl again in 2003, 2005, and 2006, and became the focal point of the passing offense. He would be a dependable target for quarterbacks Kerry Collins and Eli Manning, and never shied away from catching passes in the middle of the field.
In his first five years in the league, he caught 314 passes for 3,609 yards and 24 touchdowns. Sometimes he would let his emotions get the better of him and some of his off-field comments were immature and rubbed fans the wrong way. But nobody can deny the passion that he played with on the field.
In the first 14 games of 2007, he had 57 receptions for 619 yards and three touchdowns. In Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys, he had a career-high 12 receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown. His 12 receptions also tied the franchise record for most receptions in a game by a tight end with Mark Bavaro.
His 2007 season came to an abrupt end in Week 15 when he suffered a broken leg in the Giants’ 22-10 loss to Washington. He would miss the Giants Super Bowl run that culminated with their 17-14 over the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl 42.
With the emergence of tight end Kevin Boss during the playoff run, rumors began to surface that Shockey’s days with Big Blue were numbered. After a heated verbal exchange with general manager Jerry Reese, Shockey was traded to the New Orleans Saints on July 21, 2008, in exchange for a second and fifth-round pick in the 2009 draft.
Although he would help the Saints to a Super Bowl title in Super Bowl 44, he never reached the same individual success that he achieved with the Giants. His final season came in 2011 when he caught 37 passes for 455 yards and four touchdowns as a Carolina Panther.
Although his time with the team lasted only six seasons, he established himself as one of the best pass-catchers to ever wear a Giants jersey. His 371 receptions rank fifth-most in the history of the franchise, and he’s considered the Giants’ second-best tight end ever behind Bavaro.
His antics and how he left the franchise may not make him a beloved figure in Giants lore, but it’s without a doubt that he was one of their best and dynamic offensive players.