Joe Judge took the high road.
Judge, who was fired as Giants head coach on Tuesday, spoke for the first time Thursday about his time in charge.
“As I reflect on my tenure with the Giants, I want to express how truly grateful I am for the opportunity to be the head coach of the New York Giants,” Judge told NorthJersey.com in a statement. “Thank you to the Mara and Tisch families, to the organization and incredible support staff and to the fans — proud, loyal fans who rival any fan base in sports with their passion and devotion. It was a privilege to represent these people during the past two years. Thank you for showing up week-in and week-out to support our team.”
When announcing Judge’s dismissal, Giants owner John Mara admitted the current state of the team has left him more embarrassed than he has been before — that he thought each week Judge’s Giants hit rock bottom, only to reach newer and newer lows.
“I also want to express my appreciation to the coaching staff,” Judge’s statement continued. “They put in long nights and early mornings to help the players be successful. Their work is often behind the scenes, but the dedication and love they invest into these players and team is the foundation for anything that happens on the field. I am proud to have worked with the group of men we had and grateful for each and every one of them.”
Near the end of his tenure, some within the Giants’ locker room reportedly soured on Judge and were ready to move on to another coach. In an 11-minute rant following the Giants’ Week 17 loss to the Bears, Judge insisted that his players were completely bought-in. In his statement, he thanked them as well.
“Finally, to the players — both present and former — thank you,” Judge wrote. “To the alumni players who helped invest in our program, thank you for believing in and helping develop these young men. You set the Giants standard and you continue to lead the way.
“To the current Giants players, thank you most of all. When I became the head coach, I said that we would ask you to come in and give everything you had every day. And you did. I am so proud of you, grateful for you, and I believe in you.
“On behalf of me and my family, we leave New York with the utmost gratitude for the community, the organization, the people and the team. Thank you.”