Steve Weatherford, one of the most popular players on the New York Giants, was released by the team on Friday. Weatherford signed as a free agent with Big Blue in 2011, after spending two seasons with the New York Jets. Known for his furious workout regimens, Weatherford was also a fixture in the local community through charitable endeavors and social media.
An undrafted free agent, out of the University of Illinois, Weatherford was named to the first team All-Big Ten in 2004 and parlayed that success into a job with the New Orleans Saints in 2006. In addition to the Jets, Giants and Saints, Weatherford also spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars.
According to the New York Post on September 4th, the G-men filled the void on their special teams by acquiring Brad Wing from the Pittsburgh Steelers. “Wing, 24, is an Australian-born, left-footed punter, acquired in a trade with the Steelers for a conditional 2016 seventh-round draft pick. As a rookie last season, Wing — an LSU teammate of Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle — punted 61 times for the Steelers, averaging 43.7 yards (38.8 net), with 20 punts inside the 20-yard line. It was a decent although hardly spectacular first year in the NFL. This summer, Wing was not going to win the punting derby in Pittsburgh with another Australian, Jordan Berr,” wrote Giants’ beat writer Paul Schwartz.
The team had been carrying two punters this preseason, but released another former New York Jet, Robert Malone, earlier this week. The website, OvertheCap.com, indicates that the combination of Weatherford’s salary and declining production were the primary reasons behind his release.
“Overall the Giants will take on $1.775 million in dead money with the release, but that will be split over two years with $900,000 counting in 2015 and the $875,000 remainder in 2016. The Giants were one of the teams with a tight salary cap situation so freeing up $2.175 million against the cap frees them up for the year,”
Despite Weatherford’s struggles, it still was difficult to say good-bye to one of the remaining members of the Super Bowl XLVI championship squad. Head coach Tom Coughlin spoke to reporters shortly after he met with the former Giant.
“Let me start off by saying how difficult it was today to say goodbye to Steve Weatherford, who has been just an exceptional, exceptional human being, if I can put it that way, in terms of his — not only what he has contributed to the New York Giants on the football field but what he has done in the community, what he represents, the enthusiasm, the passion [and] the way that he had a unique ability to touch people in all parts of life,” Coughlin said Friday on a conference call with reporters. “Whether it be a sick child, attending a funeral, just speaking to a junior high school group, whatever it might be, Steve had a very unique ability to come in to a room and be the light of the room and get people excited and emotional or speak to them in terms of remarks which showed compassion.”
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