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9/11 was ‘such a sad, emotional time,’ Giants coach Jason Garrett recalls

The 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks will be on the mind of NFL players, coaches and other personnel during the first week of the 2021 season.

New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett recalled the emotional time in the New York and New Jersey area in the aftermath of the attacks. Garrett was a backup to Giants starting quarterback Kerry Collins when the terror attacks shut down the sports world. Twenty years later, he finds himself back with “Big Blue” on the coaching staff.

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“Obviously, it’s a tragic time in our country’s history and just having been here, the memories are really vivid for me. I can remember so many specific details of the day and certainly the week and the time to follow. It just was a really, really sad time. One of the great takeaways – I actually was talking to Kerry Collins about this the other night — it was just amazing how this area and our country, in many ways our world, came together after 9/11,” Garrett said.

Jason Garrett, left, backed up Kerry Collins, right. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)

Jason Garrett, left, backed up Kerry Collins, right. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
(Photo by KMazur/WireImage)

The coach recalled donating blood and how everyone was rallying to help out in any way they could.

“It was such a sad, emotional time. In many ways, I think we felt fortunate as members of this team to be able to try to help the community in some ways. We spent a lot of time at firehouses and visiting police departments and some of the people who lost their dads or their moms,” he said.

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Garrett talked about how the late Giants coach Jim Fassel played an integral role of getting the team together. He said a picture the team took after its game against the Kansas City Chiefs was memorable for him as teams returned to the field following the attacks and how memorable it was for him.

“We felt a real burden and a responsibility to have success for this area and for the people who were going through such challenging times, and I thought that moment captured it where we all kind of came together,” Garrett said. “It’s still one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever had in football. I have it in my office. I have it at my house. So many distinct memories of that time. Twenty years later, I mean, they’re vivid. They’re vivid and you can still feel them. Obviously, a very tragic time in our country’s history.”

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Fassel died in June of a heart attack. 

Garrett said he thought Fassel handled the post-9/11 moments “beautifully.”

Jason Garrett is now the Giants’ offensive coordinator.

Jason Garrett is now the Giants’ offensive coordinator.

Jason Garrett is now the Giants’ offensive coordinator.
(Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

“One of the things when you reflect back on that time, what was amazing is I think we were at our best in our response and how everyone came together. It wasn’t about being liberal or conservative, it was about being an American and it was about being a human being. I thought we did a great job in this area and all across our country rallying around the cause,” Garrett said.

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The Giants opened their 2001 season Sept. 10 against the Denver Broncos, the day before the terror attacks. Twenty years later, the Giants and Broncos will meet again on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021.

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