ALAMEDA -– Justin Tuck isn’t a good football fan. He has a tough time handling the stress of watching his Raiders on a screen, unable to aid the Silver and Black effort while on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle.
As a captain he’s remains heavily invested in Raiders results, especially as the season winds down. That was certainly the case during Sunday’s 24-21 victory over the Tennessee Titans, a virtual must-win that came down to the wire. Tuck shared his anguish on Twitter, stressfully following that dramatic conclusion with the rest of Raider Nation.
“I had to walk out of the room several times,” Tuck said on Wednesday. “I realized that, if I didn’t, I knew what I was going to get myself for Christmas. A new TV.
“It’s tough because, when you’re on the field, you don’t really get nervous because you have a chance to impact the outcome. When you’re not, it’s nerve-wracking. I don’t see how true fans do it week in and week out. That has to be unhealthy in some regard.”
That’s especially true because Tuck feels like he can contribute. He tore a pectoral muscle during a Week 5 loss to Denver and was placed on season-ending injured reserve shortly after.
“The rehab is good,” Tuck said. “This injury isn’t as bad as people think it is. I feel like I could go play now. That’s probably an ignorant Tuck talking, but I feel that way. I’m just going day by day, continuing to work in hopes of getting it even stronger than it was before it got hurt.”
Tuck won’t be ready to play another while under contract with the Raiders. His two-year deal expires when the league year ends this March, making him an unrestricted free agent in 2016.
The Raiders love having Tuck around, and he would certainly be a solid option to re-join the squad next year if the sides can agree on value. The 32-year old said he has thought about the future.
“Definitely. There are always thoughts,” Tuck said. “The hardest thing to do in rehab or when you’re out for a while and looking from the outside in is to take it one day at a time. That’s what we’re doing. We’re taking it one day at a time. The biggest thing is to get everything right with my body, and all the rest of that stuff will take care of itself.”
Tuck remains active with the Raiders and the Tuck R.U.S.H for Literacy campaign, which was founded by Justin and his wife Laran back in 2008. He brought the initiative to the Bay Area after moving to the Raiders from the New York Giants, and it has been wildly successful on both coasts.
“We chose childhood literacy because we feel that literacy is the No. 1 stumbling block to a great educational blueprint, Tuck said. “We’re passionate about kids getting a good start. We want to get to them at an early age to put good habits in place.”
His efforts in the Bay Area made him the Raiders nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award, given to one player for charitable works.
While some players disappear after going on IR, Tuck has been around in meeting rooms and has been at every home game since getting hurt.
“They voted me as a captain, and that involves a lot more than just being on the field,” Tuck said. “We have a lot of young guys, especially on the defensive line. Anyway I can be a part of helping their growth is important.
“Also, what’s the alternative? I can go home, sit on the couch and watch TV, which will get boring real quickly.”