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Justin Tuck

Posted by coltsindianapolis on February 2, 2012 – 8:39 am


Kevin Bowen

1 February 2012

                He will admit that he was barely 200 pounds.

When Giants defensive end Justin Tuck chose the University of Notre Dame as a high school senior he was a rail-then skill position player that had the body nowhere near a future Pro Bowler.

Tuck made the most of a Division I weight room and credited much of his physical development to former Notre Dame Strength and Conditioning Coach Mickey Marotti.

“Mickey Marotti called me his ‘ball of clay’ when I got there. He did a great job of just bulking me up for the position,” Tuck said. “In high school, I was more of a wide receiver/tight end/outside linebacker type and within a summer I gained 40 pounds of muscle.”

“If you ask him he had a lot of fun creating what I am today. But I knew to play this position I had to make a decision and go at it as hard as I could in the weight room, making sure I eat the right things. He’s a lot of the reason why I’ve been successful.”

Setting a pair of school records in sacks (24.5) and tackles behind the line of scrimmage (43), Tuck was a third round draft pick by the New York Giants in 2004.

While in high school in Alabama, Tuck won a pair of basketball state championships.

His athleticism has carried over to the football field as the versatile defensive lineman is gunning for his second Super Bowl ring.

The 2012 Super Bowl is a rematch of 2008 and Tuck’s Giants hope to have the same mindset they had four years ago whether favored or not.

“We didn’t really buy into all the underdog stuff last time,” Tuck said. “We knew it was there, and we knew nobody was giving us a shot, but we always believed in ourselves. It’s still the same here.”

“I hope to say it would be the same if we were favored or not, that we believe in our ourselves. We never really cared what other people outside of those guys in that locker room or our owners or our coaching staff has said anyway.”

As Tuck is nearing the end to his seventh season in the NFL, he has grown into a 275-pound frame and into one of the leaders of the Giants.

His return to the Midwest would be fitting if he could stir up some of the same magic he had just a few hours north under the Golden Dome.

“It’s good to be back close to home I guess,” Tuck said. “I know that I have a lot of support in Indiana. Hopefully I can wake up some echoes this week.”

Posted by: Kevin Bowen

Posted in Colts Blog

Mathias Kiwanuka

Posted by coltsindianapolis on – 8:38 am

Kevin Bowen

1 February 2012

                New York Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka has played for championships in Colts stadiums before.

During his sophomore and junior years at Cathedral High School, Kiwanuka and the Fighting Irish captured back-to-back IHSAA State Football Championships at the RCA Dome.

After sitting out the 2008 Super Bowl due to injury, the Indianapolis native now gets his turn back in his hometown to hoist another trophy in the state’s capitol.

“It’s very special. All of the stars lined up for this one,” Kiwanuka said. “Missing the last one was definitely tough. I have said before that when you miss any game it’s tough regardless of whether it’s a playoff game or a regular season game because this is my job and I like to be out here and I like to do it. Having the opportunity to be out here and be with guys on the field is nothing short of amazing.”

Having attended all his school up until Boston College in Indianapolis, the city holds a special place in the former All-America’s heart.

“It’s amazing, just the way the entire city has been behind us, it’s been awesome to experience this at home,” Kiwanuka said. “The way the entire city has been changed and developed the past 10 years, it’s amazing. I’m proud to be from Indianapolis. I’m proud to be here playing in the Super Bowl.”

Kiwanuka is one of just two players from Indianapolis (James Brewer) that will take the field on Sunday and he said the greatest thrill of being home is the chance to bond with his family.

“It was overwhelming at first but being home last night hanging with my mom and everybody, it was just fun,” Kiwanuka said. “This is something that I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life. Got some good home cooking, got to see my nieces and nephews, it was great.”

Even though Kiwanuka is a household name around these parts he is by no means the most well known member of his family.

His grandfather Benedicto was elected the Uganda’s first prime minister in 1961. Kiwanuka said all of his family members have a bit of his grandfather in them, which will come in handy while under the Super Bowl limelight on Sunday.

“You can see it in terms of my entire family and how everybody responds to different pressure situations, so if I have a little bit of his genes in me I definitely appreciate it,” Kiwanuka said.

Watching from the sideline in 2008 was difficult for Kiwanuka but now he gets another chance to play a direct role in a championship type performance in the city he grew up in.

“That’s the surreal part right there, that’s the part that is unbelievable,” Kiwanuka said. “As a kid you dream about playing in the biggest games, but you don’t ever expect it to be in your hometown especially when you are from Indianapolis. Getting this opportunity is great.”


Posted by: Kevin Bowen

Posted in Colts Blog