The Giants didn't need Jeremy Shockey to win Super Bowl XLII, to tie for the best record in the NFC last season or to get off to a 5-0 start this season. But apparently Shockey doesn't need the Giants either, and this Sunday the former employer and employee will meet for the first time since their dramatic breakup.
It's been over a year since Giants general manager Jerry Reese sent Shockey to the Saints for a pair of draft picks. And after a season without a touchdown catch, Shockey and the Saints have a perfect record of their own that they will put on the line against the G-Men this weekend. But Shockey will be looking for revenge against the team with which he spent his first six NFL seasons.
"Bitter taste in my mouth," Shockey told The New Orleans Times-Picayune, describing his feelings toward the Giants. "Things that happened between some people and myself, that bitter taste will always be in my mouth. It's just something that if you cross me once — it's hard enough to gain my trust as it is — and if you lie to me and if you say something behind closed doors between that person and myself … I needed change in my life. I needed change in the situation and scenario I was in because they were making a big deal out of nothing."
With Shockey's struggles in New Orleans last season, the Giants looked like geniuses for ridding themselves of the drama that the tight end's personality brought to the team. And when his replacement, Kevin Boss, began to take off as an effective weapon on offense, the idea that Shockey was no longer needed only angered the outspoken tight end even more.
"I thought I had a successful six years there, and I did some things to help the organization marketing-wise. I know they made a lot of money off of jersey sales and the things I've done for them," Shockey told The Times-Picayune. "Going to the Pro Bowl four out of six years is a very big accomplishment, and I was expecting a little more respect than I was receiving."
One team on Sunday will come away still perfect and still atop the NFC standings. But aside from the final score will be the story of how the Giants have evolved without Shockey, and how Shockey has evolved without the Giants. As of now the Giants have clearly justified their decision to send Shockey packing on the eve of training camp in 2008. Now he will get a chance to show them what they might have been missing.