Many consider Jeff Feagles to be one of the greatest punters who ever played in the NFL, and the New York Giants certainly benefited from having him on the team during the last seven years of his career.
Not only was Feagles a great veteran presence and leader, but his ability to punt the ball where he wanted to, and force teams to start with bad field position was one of the reasons why his career was able to span 22 years.
This past week, Feagles reflected on another legendary Giants punter who tragically passed away from Parkinson's disease at the age of 61; Dave Jennings. Jennings was a member of the Giants from 1974 until 1984 and played his last three seasons in the NFL with the New York Jets until retiring in 1987.
“I heard the news, and it was a real sad day for me,” Feagles said. “Being a punter and following Dave Jennings and his career and what he did for the position, it’s kind of ironic because Dave Jennings was the player that got the Inside-the-20 statistic put in the NFL, and I’m the all-time leader in that category. So it’s synonymous and it’s sad. I was happy that I had the chance to spend time with him when he was somewhat healthy and still working for the Giants’ broadcast team. We spent many hours in the back of the plane just talking punting, which doesn’t happen very often. We just really got into the nuts and bolts of the position and how it’s just transformed into what it is today.”
Feagles still remembers the night back in Week 13 of the 2011 season where Jennings was inducted into the Giants "Ring of Honor" at MetLife Stadium, and said it was very difficult to see him at such a fragile state in his life from the disease.
“One of the worst memories I have is, unfortunately, it was a great day in his life, a great day in Giants nation, if you will, when he got inducted to the Ring of Honor,” Feagles recalled of the ceremony, which took place at halftime of the Giants’ Week 13 loss to Green Bay at MetLife Stadium. “Just seeing the state that he was in that day, he had to be in a golf cart.”
Feagles felt that Jennings never got the true respect and credit from how much of an artwork that Jennings put into punting, especially being able to put the ball inside the 20-yard line like he did, something Feagles was able to perfect in his career.
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