Does David Tyree Make New York Giants' Final Roster?

Louis GiangarraCorrespondent IJune 22, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03:  David Tyree #85 of the New York Giants catches a 32-yard pass from Eli Manning #10 as Rodney Harrison #37 of the New England Patriots attempts to knock it out in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Giants defeated the Patriots 17-14.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

It seems like yesterday he was making that catch. 

You know the one: Leaping into the air as high as his legs would take him, pinning the ball with one hand against his helmet, securing it with the other hand as he came crashing to the ground on top of Rodney Harrison. 

David Tyree is a New York Giants' legend, but now it seems like he's fighting for a roster spot.

Looking at the dearth of wide receivers currently on the Giants' roster, it's obvious why an uphill struggle appears ahead of Tyree this time around. Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, and Ramses Barden are locks to make the team.  Sinorice Moss has been the star of every mini-camp he's been healthy enough to attend. 

That's six receivers before we get to the hero of Super Bowl XLII, so is there room for number seven?

It turns out there is room; all you have to do is get a little creative.

Tyree was never expected to play wide receiver for the Giants. He wasn't drafted for his ability to catch a football or run a pass route. He was drafted for his ability to cover kicks and catch punts at the goal line.

Coming off a season full of injuries, Tyree is going to have to prove he's healthy enough to fulfill his role as a special teams ace, and that is the battle he is going to have to fight to make the team. 

The trick is to not think of Tyree as a wide receiver at all. If you look at him simply as a Pro-Bowl special teams' performer, it's not as easy to let him hit the streets. Pro Bowl-caliber players don't grow on trees.

Last season, the Giants kept five running backs on the team: Derrick Ward, Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, Danny Ware, and Reuben Droughns. Of those five, only three ever saw meaningful game action as a running back. Ward has moved on to Tampa Bay, and Droughns may be looking at retirement. Brown was drafted to replace one of the departed running back roster spots, but the other is open. Tyree may fit into that currently vacant spot.

Also, last season, the Giants kept two place kickers on the roster for the entire season.  Lawrence Tynes and John Carney split the duties after Tynes suffered an injury during training camp. This season, the job belongs to Tynes alone, and that means another spot opens up on the final roster. 

Ultimately, whether Tyree makes this team should come down to how healthy his legs are. If he's back at 100 percent, there is no reason to think he can't provide as much value to the team on special teams as any other starter does on offense or defense. 

A healthy Tyree is a valuable commodity, and it should be comforting for Giants fans to know that if he's up for it, Tyree should be around at least another year.