Justin Tuck is entering a contract year in what will likely be the biggest season of his career.
Tuck has acknowledged that he needs to play better and has tried different training methods and altered his nutrition. In March, he went to see Tony Robbins, the renowned peak-performance strategist and life coach, and even walked over hot coals that hovered around 2,000 degrees. Tuck and his wife, Lauran, spent a weekend attending Robbins' "Unleash The Power Within" seminar.
While it remains to be seen whether Robbins and firewalking will help this season, Tuck deserves credit for trying something new to snap out of this slump.
He could easily stick to his usual offseason routine since he's won two Super Bowls doing what he's done. But Tuck recognizes that a total of nine sacks in the last two seasons isn't going to get it done.
"I realize I haven’t played my best the last two years," Tuck said. "Whether it be injuries or the circumstances surrounding this team. Who knows? I knew it was time for me to try something different.
"I've had people telling me to get my butt to Robbins for two to three years now," he continued. "I finally said if I am going to be dedicated to my craft and to being the best that I can be, then this has to happen."
Interestingly, Robbins pointed out some things that might be holding Tuck back mentally. Tuck feels the responsibility to perform and and be the defensive leader that Michael Strahan and Antonio Pierce were before him. And, as Robbins indicated, Tuck is aware of how some people have felt about his recent play.
"He’s a really responsible guy," Robbins said. "He is not the kind of guy to swat that off. He feels it. He feels like he is responsible to carry things to some extent. So he fails and he’s down in that state of frustration and failure and then not feeling appreciated for what he doesn’t do. And all that gets in the way of just doing your job!"
"My expertise is the human psyche, which is the very thing that [fans] were complaining about with him," Robbins later added. "Being beat up by the very people that he wants to please was definitely a conflict for Justin. It is like, 'I can't win.' That [becomes the] mentality. This happens to many athletes."
The Giants definitely know how important Tuck is to their success. Toward the end of the 2011 season, Tom Coughlin sat Tuck down for a personal pep talk, which helped turn his and the Giants' season around. And this offseason, Jerry Reese and Tuck had a sit down as well. They'll need him to step up even more with Osi Umenyiora gone.
We'll see what Robbins can do for Tuck and the Giants.
"You will see him go out and lead and he will be 'all-in' to use the Giants metaphor," Robbins said. "He will be 'all-in' putting everything on the table, every damn day because he won't have some story (excuse) about whether or not he is appreciated or whether or not things are going his way or whatever the case may be."
"I just saw him [last week]," Robbins later added. "He was just off the charts with his passion for what he’s going to do this year."
So, what do you guys think of Tuck going to see Robbins and walking over hot coals? Think it will help?