The story of John Tuggle is a story many of you may already know. Whether you do or you don’t, it’s one worth revisiting.
RB John Tuggle of Cal was the Giants’ 12th round pick in the 1983 NFL Draft. Being the last player taken in the draft, he was given the moniker, “Mr. Irrelevant”. He was anything but.
Tuggle made the Giants as a rookie and instantly became a fan favorite. From californiagoldenblogs.com:
Although the Giants had an abysmal 1983 season (they would finish 3-12-1),Tuggle was a stand-out on special teams throughout the year. And when Rob Carpenter went down with an injury eleven games into the season, Parcells chose Tuggle to take over as the starting fullback for the last five games. Because of his rise from “Mr. Irrelevant” to starting fullback in a single season, Tuggle became a bit of a cultural phenomenon, and was invited to appear on national television talk shows. As a starter, Tuggle rushed 17 times for 49 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 50 yards, 16.7 yards per catch. On special teams that season, he returned 9 kick-offs for 156 yards. When the season ended, Tuggle’s teammates selected him as the Giants’ special teams player of the year.
But Tuggle would not play another down for the Giants. In training camp in 1984, he suffered a knee injury. During the examination, Tuggle was also treated for shoulder pain. It was discovered that Tuggle had a cancerous tumor.
After a spirited battle, Tuggle passed away two years later, but his zest for life and the effect he had on the Giants’ organization and fans still lives on.
ESPN Films is featuring this digital short on Tuggle as part of it’s 30 for 30 documentary series Watch Here