John Tuggle was anything but irrelevant to legendary coach Bill Parcells.
As the last pick in the 1983 NFL Draft, the running back out of California became that year’s Mr. Irrelevant and began his NFL journey alongside Parcells, who had just taken over as head coach of the New York Giants.
Captured in ESPN’s latest short film “The Irrelevant Giant,” the two embarked on something much greater when Tuggle was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, which would eventually cause his death in August of 1986 at the age of 25.
Tuggle left a lasting impression on the coach as the Giants went on to win the first Super Bowl in franchise history the following season, wearing the number 38 on their helmets along the way to honor their fallen teammate.
“For all the players that I’ve ever coached in my lifetime, there have been a few – John being among them – that had some attributes that you couldn’t see,” recalled Parcells, who was recently voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in the documentary. “You had to gain an understanding of this guy’s determination, his will, those kinds of things. Just walking around you don’t gain an appreciation for anything like that. It has to be gained under duress, during times of pain, during times where we all have to go to those dark places and respond.”
Tags: Bill Parcells, John Tuggle
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