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Shocking Drops Humble Jeremy


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September 17, 2003 -- It took a disturbing game for Jeremy Shockey to display a character trait he's kept well-hidden, or else has suddenly developed.

Early Tuesday morning, as the finality of a 35-32 overtime loss to the Cowboys was sinking in, Shockey spoke from the heart about a shoddy performance that genuinely seemed to humble the supposedly impenetrable tight end.

"I'm paid a lot of money to help this team win and I felt like I'll give it all back to 'em," a downcast Shockey said. "I felt bad; I still feel bad, and it's going to be tough for me to really get over this one, obviously because we lost, but not because of that mainly, but because of how I played."

Shockey caught two passes in the game for 8 yards. His 1-yard touchdown grab in the fourth quarter pulled the Giants within 29-21, but that's not what he or anyone else will remember about his evening, which included two ghastly dropped passes.

"I never played like that in my life," Shockey said. "I've got to go home and look in the mirror and really judge me. All these magazines and this stuff, that doesn't mean anything to me. The only thing that matters to me is if I'm helping this team win, and I know I helped on a couple of plays, but the majority of that I felt I really didn't."

With the Giants trailing 10-7 in the second quarter, Shockey on third-and-8 broke free downfield and Kerry Collins hit him in stride. Shockey, playing with a mending broken rib, reached up for the ball and, with safety Tony Dixon bearing down on him, couldn't hang on, and Dixon delivered a blow after the ball glanced off Shockey's gloves.

It got worse, and more embarrassing, for a player from Oklahoma who detests the Cowboys for not drafting him and, after ripping into Bill Parcells, promised in a summertime magazine article to "make him pay when we play them."

Shockey took off his gloves in the third quarter because they were getting soaked in the steady rain. The Giants were down 23-7 when, from the Dallas 1-yard line, Collins suckered the Cowboys in on a play-fake and tossed a feathery pass into the end zone to a wide-open Shockey. He could have caught the ball in his sleep but it dropped out of his hands. The Giants did score two plays later on a pass to Ike Hilliard.

"There's no excuse for me to drop passes like that," Shockey said. "I'm always used to succeeding; when something happens like that I'm not going to sit here and whine about it.

"It feels like a lot of people out there want me to fail more than they want me to succeed, and that's fine. As a pro athlete you really have to take the criticism, that's fine. I'll take it for this game. I really feel like I let a lot of my teammates down and, most importantly, myself."

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Sounds to me like he cares more about his own performance than his team's. "I feel really bad about this because I played so poorly. Losing the games was kinda bad, too."

I don't expect to see the "new, improved" Jeremy Shockey on Sunday. Just the same old, self-serving, pretty decent TE that he is. And I don't expect it to be the deciding factor in the game.

What, is he MAD now? Is he going to run his routes that much harder? Offensive players can't play mad - they have to be in control and in focus. I hope he is mad, and that Jesse does stuff to get in his head and make him even madder. That'll take him even further off of his game.

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