EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — After getting permission from his 7-year-old daughter, New York Giants offensive lineman David Diehl retired after an 11-year career that included two Super Bowl championships.
The fifth-round draft pick out of Illinois became a cornerstone of tough offensive lines. Diehl missed 12 games during his career, starting at every position on the line except center.
Addison Diehl accompanied him to the training center Friday and told team president John Mara that she had “allowed” her dad to retire.
“It’s not very easy for my daughter to talk about me retiring and not playing football,” Diehl said. “The Giants are just as much family to her as they are to me. She’s been going to the games, and at 7 years old, she understands everything. She understands the game and the players and how important it is to play in the NFL.
“For her, my stepping away from something she loves as much as I do is not an easy thing.”
Diehl was selected to the 2009 Pro Bowl. Diehl was the only Giants player whose arrival predated coach Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning. With his retirement, the longest-tenured Giants are guard Chris Snee and Manning.
“When I think of David Diehl, what comes to mind is his indomitable spirit,” Coughlin said. “He got the most out of his God-given ability, and that’s the best way that you can judge any individual.”
Diehl started the first 120 regular season games and seven postseason games in his career, the longest such streak by a Giant since the introduction of the 16-game schedule in 1978. The streak ended Nov. 14, 2010, against Dallas because of hip and hamstring injuries. He ends his career with 164 regular season games played, tying Phil Simms for 12th on the franchise’s all-time list.
“I love football,” he said. “I love being in the game, I love watching film, I love doing all of that, and I’m going to miss that aspect of it. But I know I’m ready to start the new and next chapter of my life. I’m ready to not only be a bigger part of my daughter’s life but I’m ready to spread my knowledge and help other people with the game and continue to do stuff throughout our community and charity work and be involved with the New York Giants in any way possible.”