Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Robustelli's legacy as a player and man

Most of what I know about Andy Robustelli as a player came from my father, a lifetime New York Giants fan, but I later got to know Robustelli when covering the Giants in 1978, his final season as general manager of the Giants.
He had talked about retiring as GM for a couple of years prior, to devote himself to the family insurance business in Stamford. But I can still remember the utter shock on his face when The Fumble undid so many of the the painstaking advances he made in trying to build the Giants back up to a championship level team.
Still, Robustelli, who passed away at the age of 85 Tuesday, was immensely proud of leaving the foundation of the Giants in much better shape than when he took over as Director of Operations -- essentially when team owner Wellington Mara was convinced to put the football decisions in the hands of a football man.
If nothing else, Robustelli was the essence of old school, maximizing his own talent as an undersized defensive end. He beat you with preparation and savvy, then looked for that in the players he drafted and signed with the Giants.
He's was a Hall of Fame talent and without doubt, one of the legendary Giants. But Andy Robustelli, who passed away Tuesday, but if there's anything about Robustelli I'm left to remember, more than three decades later, it's that he treated people with respect and compassion.
He was a great player, but the Andy Robustelli I got to know, was an even greater man.


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