Justin Tuck: 20 Questions for a Country Boy Caught in the Big City

John SuttonContributor IMay 14, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 11:  (EDITORS NOTE: IMAGES HAVE BEEN RETOUCHED)  Justin Tuck of the New York Giants poses for a portrait on March 11, 2009 in New York City, New York.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Justin Tuck has emerged as one of the best defensive ends in the NFL over the past two seasons. The third round pick from Notre Dame is entering his fifth season with the Big Blue after his first career Pro Bowl selection in the 2008 season.

Tuck's coming-out party came in Super Bowl XLII when he totaled two sacks and a forced fumble leading the Giants' pass rush that rattled New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady all game.

The Giants emerged with a 17-14 victory and made Tuck a household name, at least in New York.

The story of Tuck goes beyond his tenacious pass rushing ability. It starts with his roots in rural Alabama and includes his journey to become one of the stars in the NFL in the biggest city in the country.

Here's some of the questions I would ask Tuck to get to the heart of a feature on the defensive end.

1. Growing up in a small town like Kellyton, Ala., could you ever have imagined living as a public figure in New York City?

2. How many people from your hometown have ever done something like you have—moving out and becoming a public figure?

3. When it came time to choose a place to play college football, what were some of the other options besides Notre Dame?

4. What about Notre Dame made them stand out from the other schools?

5. What was the adjustment like moving from rural Alabama to Notre Dame where it was much colder?

6. You went through an up-and-down career with the Fightin' Irish where you did not even see the field during your freshman year.  What was that like to sit on the sidelines and watch for a season?

7. Once you did see the field, you set the Notre Dame career record for sacks with 24.5. What made you so successful in South Bend?

8. Why the decision to forgo your last year of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft a year early?

9. What were your first thoughts when you heard that you would be a New York Giant?

10. Was moving to New York anything like you thought it would be after living in two small towns all your life?

11. What was it like the first time you ever put on a New York Giants uniform and walked through the tunnel out onto the field at Giants Stadium?

12. After a solid rookie season, you injured your foot in 2006 causing you to be placed on injured reserve and undergo surgery.  Did you fear your career might be over at that point?

13. You played behind Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora up until last season, only allowing you to start two games when you came back in 2007.  Was that frustrating or a learning experience and why?

14. Super Bowl XLII was a great game for you. Tell me how it felt to not only win the Super Bowl but for you personally to put up the big performance you did in the biggest game of your life.

15. How did life change when you went from being Justin Tuck to Super Bowl Champion Justin Tuck?

16. You got to take over the leading role on the defensive line with Strahan's retirement and a season-ending injury to Umenyiora. Was that something you were excited for or nervous about heading into the season?

17. The Giants continued to be successful last season despite those two departures, and you emerged as one of the best pass-rushers in the league. How did it feel to know that you could take a starring role in the NFL?

18. The pass rush seemed to wane at the end of the season and the defense could not sack Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb in the Divisional Playoff loss last season. What went wrong to end the season?

19. It came out, after last season, that you were battling seven injuries for months. Why did you not take a game off to recover or let the media know about it?

20. What is the most important thing you have learned about yourself since you left your hometown in Alabama all the way up to the last game you played last season against the Eagles?