With the Ravens beating the 49ers, the Giants are no longer the reigning Super Bowl champions, and New York management has sent a message in the past 48 hours: The team is moving on.
The Giants released linebacker Michael Boley on Monday, and continued Tuesday by releasing two more veterans, running back Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive tackle Chris Canty.
All three were on the field when the Giants beat the Patriots last February. As was Giants punter Steve Weatherford, who received a franchise tag from Big Blue in the 2012 offseason.
"Those are my brothers," Weatherford says. "That magical season of 2011 was something we'll always remember. We will have a reunion 20 years from now, and it'll feel like yesterday that we experienced that together."
Although the three players, all of whom played at least four seasons in New York (Bradshaw played six and won two Super Bowls), are leaving, Weatherford believes their legacy is cemented. He does not expect the Big Apple to forget his former teammates any time soon.
"Those are three guys who were key to achieving what we were able to achieve in the Super Bowl season and to bring the franchise to where it is today," Weatherford says. "Those guys will be remembered forever in this city."
As Weatherford prepares for his third season in New York, Boley, Bradshaw and Canty will seek jobs elsewhere. Weatherford endorses the trio to any team seeking leadership and skill.
"They really epitomized what it is to be a New York Giant," he says. "Those guys never did anything negative off the field. They've only made this franchise better. And off the field, they've been able to do some amazing things. Mike Boley's got a charity and so does Chris Canty and Ahmad's very giving of his time to children and to visiting hospitals. Those guys are consummate pros."
While with the Giants, Boley hosted an annual charity bowling night and Canty founded the Chris Canty Foundation, a charity dedicated to enhancing the total development of youth.
All three players will likely be playing against Weatherford next season.