David Tyree saw things get ‘weird’ before losing Giants exec job


Change has been the Giants’ constant over the past six years.

An era of two Super Bowl wins gave way to six losing records in seven seasons, four head coaches since 2015 and a roster cleanse leaving behind zero players from the last playoff victory.

David Tyree had a firsthand look at all of it as Giants director of player engagement from 2014 until he was let go in June. In light of the “Once a Giant, always a Giant” mantra, it seems almost unnatural he no longer is employed by the team for which his Helmet Catch is a legendary moment.

“I wouldn’t say it’s weird at all. Things got ‘weird’ a couple years ago when the culture shifted,” Tyree told The Post.

“That starts with Coach [Tom] Coughlin walking out the door. I think they are moving in the right direction … but they had some other goals as far as aligning the franchise. I certainly was blessed to have that opportunity, and I don’t take anything for granted, so I don’t feel like anybody owes me anything.”

Tyree, 40, is proud of the “remarkable work” he and his staff did helping players adjust to NFL life and network for post-playing opportunities. He is redirecting time and energy into ownership of a Clean Juice location, which opened June 27 in Morristown, N.J., as a family operation.

David Tyree
David TyreeRobert Sabo

The nature of the NFL is change at the top — like hiring coach Joe Judge — usually trickles down. The Giants put sports psychologist Dr. Lani Lawrence in charge of wellness, clinical services, engagement and development.

“I’ve been a part of the successful years and the turnaround,” said Tyree, who wore the Giants uniform from 2003-08. “What we had is absolutely gone.

“There is always a time for new and you can recreate something special. I’m not talking about ‘Keep the good old days going.’ There were things that needed to go. I’m just saying honestly there was a special culture set in place with the leaders there. You can easily chuck the baby with the bath water with change, and that often happens in athletic circles. I think that’s what happened years ago.”

Tyree, who worked especially close with rookie classes, said the roster has a “good foundation” and he is a fan of “the tone of Joe Judge.” How do the Giants return to glory?

“It’s a dynamic family ownership, dynamic organization, they will find their way back,” Tyree said. “I think Dave [Gettleman] does a great job making them foundationally sound, and they will eventually get back from there.

“The missing link has always been the conduit to the heart of the player. We see that in the NFL over and over again. Where there was something special about the New York Giants that set so many players at ease, that’s gone. I’m supportive of our franchise, and I believe the Giants — because ownership is so vested in the welfare of players and staff — is always going to be a special place.”

Tyree hopes to return to the NFL in the future.

“I plan on going back to work,” Tyree said. “I love the challenge of growth, life, leadership, to some extent executive. My life has been serving leadership.”

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