With long, flowing locks and tattoos covering Jeremy Shockey’s body, it was easy to mistake him for some random rock star.
Who would’ve thought he would go on to become one of the best tight ends in Miami Hurricanes and New York Giants football history?
Sure, the outspoken and party-going Shockey sometimes made headlines for the wrong reasons.
Despite the image he portrayed off the gridiron, he was a deadly weapon on it.
Say all you want about him: when it comes to pass-catching skills, he was one of the best among tight ends during his era.
Jeremy Charles Shockey was born to parents Jimmy and Lucinda in Ada, OK on August 18, 1980.
Lucinda, a receptionist, raised him and his older brother James, a future real estate agent.
According to SI.com’s S.L. Price, Lucinda left her husband when Jeremy was three years old. James was four years old.
Since then, the boys’ father never bothered to call or visit.
As they grew older, Lucinda told them about their dad’s indifference. They never cried. Instead, they took it all in stride.
“Hey, it’s his loss, not ours,” Shockey told SI.com in 2003. “Me and my brother knew my mother was going to raise us, and we were going to do great things. Now she’s the one reaping all the benefits.”
Shockey attended the Ada Independent School District in his hometown.
He suited up for the Ada Cougars football and basketball teams.
Shockey not only excelled on the gridiron and hardwood, but he also excelled in the classroom – he was an honor roll student in high school.
He was a two-way player who played wide receiver and outside linebacker for Cougars head football coach Gary McBroom.
Shockey was tough as nails even during his high school years – he endured an entire year with a broken knuckle and wrist, lifted weights with just one hand, and postponed surgery so he didn’t turn off recruiters, per SI.com.
Shockey had 50 receptions, five touchdowns, and 1,108 receiving yards during his senior season in 1998.
He also added four touchdowns on punt returns for good measure that year.
The Cougars squared off against the Chickasha Fightin’ Chicks in the state semi-final game in Shockey’s senior campaign.
Shockey played the game of his life. He had eight receptions for 208 yards.
Unfortunately, the Fightin’ Chicks prevailed.
Nevertheless, Jeremy Shockey earned state All-District, All-County, and All-State honors at the end of his senior year.
Despite the absence of a father figure during Shockey’s formative years, he credited Miami Hurricanes head football coach Larry Coker, Miami Hurricanes, tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski, and New York Giants tight end coach Mike Pope for taking his game to the next level, per Price.
On the other end of the spectrum, Shockey never forgot the slights he endured during his playing days on the gridiron.
For instance, Shockey told SI.com that McBroom never made an effort to dangle a scholarship.
For his part, McBroom told Price that Shockey didn’t qualify academically until late in his senior season.
On the other hand, Shockey claimed Northeastern Oklahoma A&M head football coach Dale Patterson didn’t run enough plays for him.
Worse, Shockey claimed Patterson threatened to ask the NCAA to probe deeper into the Miami Hurricanes’ alleged illegal recruitment of the star tight end.
Patterson told Price his team did reach out to the NCAA to make sure the Hurricanes could recruit him. He denied threatening Shockey.
Among all of the slights Shockey endured, the one from then-Oklahoma Sooners head football coach Bob Stoops was the most painful.
Shockey was a rabid Sooners fan during his high school days with the Cougars. Stoops never paid him any attention.
Stoops reached out to Shockey after the latter put on 35 pounds of muscle during his freshman JUCO season with Patterson.
When Stoops found out Shockey committed to the Miami Hurricanes after that year, he told Shockey he won’t play a single down.
“I never told a kid he’d never play a down anywhere,” Stoops told Price in 2003. “I told him Miami had plenty of players, and his opportunities would probably be better here.”
The relationship between Stoops and Shockey had been strained. The latter had been mocking Stoops – sometimes with expletive-laden remarks – ever since.
“Next time don’t be so dumb,” he told SI.com in reference to Stoops.
Jeremy Shockey was now ready to bring his tenacity to the college football stage.
College Days With The Miami Hurricanes
Jeremy Shockey flew under the radar once his high school football career in Oklahoma ended.
He remained in-state and enrolled at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M for his freshman year in 1999.
Shockey was hoping he’d get to play football for the Arizona Wildcats.
Unfortunately, the Wildcats never showed interest in Shockey.
Shockey eventually received a scholarship from the Miami Hurricanes.
The University of Miami is known as “Tight End U” because it has produced many top-notch tight ends over the years.
These include Bubba Franks, Willie Smith, Greg Olsen, and Kellen Winslow II.
When Jeremy Shockey committed to Miami, he became part of that elite group.
During Shockey’s JUCO stint at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, he put on 35 pounds of lean muscle mass and refined his game.
Shockey had 33 passes for 484 yards and seven touchdowns in his true freshman year in 1999.
The JC Grid Wire named him a First-Team JC All-American. He was also a unanimous First-Team All-Southwest Junior College Conference selection.
To nobody’s surprise, Shockey got the attention of many recruiters including those from the Oklahoma Sooners, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas Longhorns, Michigan State Spartans, and Texas A&M Aggies, per the Hurricanes’ official athletics website.
Shockey turned them all down and decided to pack his bags for Southern Florida in the summer of 2000.
He became eligible to join the Hurricanes’ football program after just one year at JUCO because he was a full academic qualifier in high school, per MiamiHurricanes.com.
He couldn’t have chosen a better time to become a Miami Hurricane.
Under the leadership of head coaches Butch Davis and Larry Coker, the Hurricanes won twenty-three of twenty-four games at the turn of the century.
Simply put, Miami was a college football juggernaut in the early 2000s.
Shockey started his college gridiron career as a backup to tight end Ivan Mercer.
It didn’t take long for Shockey to stamp his mark on Hurricanes football history.
He recorded his first touchdown reception in seventh-ranked Miami’s stunning 27-24 victory over the first-ranked Florida State Seminoles on national television on October 7, 2000.
Shockey caught a 13-yard pass from quarterback Ken Dorsey in the final minute to seal the win.
Shockey recorded two touchdown receptions over the next month and-a-half against the Virginia Tech Hokies and Boston College Eagles to ramp up his total to three for the year.
His 296 receiving yards on 21 receptions came down to 10.1 yards per catch during his sophomore season in 2000.
Big East head football coaches, Football News, and The Sporting News bestowed First-Team All-Big East honors on Shockey.
The Hurricanes went 11-1 in Davis’ last year at the helm.
They went up against their fierce in-state rivals, the Florida Gators, in the 2001 Sugar Bowl on January 2, 2001.
Jeremy Shockey delivered the goods in his first college bowl game.
Shockey hauled in an eight-yard touchdown pass from Dorsey to give Miami a 10-7 lead after the PAT with 50 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Hurricanes outscored the Gators in the second half 24-10 to win in runaway fashion, 37-20.
Alas, the Oklahoma Sooners – the team Shockey supported during his high school days – squashed Miami’s national title hopes by beating the Florida State Seminoles in the 2001 Orange Bowl a day later, 13-2.
— NCAA Football – Esp (@ncaafesp) June 12, 2013
Despite the heartbreaking turn of events, Shockey took his game to the next level in the 2001 NCAA season.
By then, scouts and pundits marveled at Shockey’s excellent pass-catching ability, speed, and elusiveness – he used his tremendous stiff arm to keep tacklers at bay.
He kicked off the Larry Coker era with 84 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Hurricanes’ 33-7 blowout win over Joe Paterno’s Penn State Nittany Lions on September 1, 2001.
Shockey had a career-high 56-yard touchdown reception in Miami’s 61-0 shutout win over the visiting Rutgers Scarlet Knights a week later.
He had a career-best 93 receiving yards on six receptions in the Hurricanes’ 38-0 rout of the Temple Owls on November 3, 2001.
Behind Shockey’s exploits at tight end, Miami enjoyed an undefeated 12-0 season.
He finished the year with 519 yards and seven touchdowns on 40 receptions in 11 games.
For the second consecutive year, Jeremy Shockey was a huge factor in a bowl game.
However, this wasn’t just any bowl game – this was the 2001 Rose Bowl.
This time around, Shockey and Co. weren’t to be denied.
Shockey had a 21-yard touchdown reception with 10:45 left in the second quarter to give Miami a commanding 27-0 lead.
The Miami Hurricanes went on to win 37-14 and secure their fifth national title. Consequently, they earned the Grantland Rice Trophy as national champions in 2001.
Shockey finished the game – his last on the college gridiron – with 85 receiving yards.
He decided to skip his senior season at Miami and declare for the 2002 NFL Draft.
At the end of Shockey’s memorable college football career, he ranked no lower than sixth among Miami Hurricanes tight ends in several statistical categories.
He currently ranks sixth in career receptions (61), tied for second in touchdown receptions (10), and career receiving yards (815), per MiamiHurricanes.com.
Shockey piled up on the accolades at the end of his college football career.
He was a finalist for the John Mackey Award for the most outstanding college football tight end in 2001.
The conference’s head football coaches also bestowed First-Team All-Big East honors on Shockey for the second consecutive year.
For its part, CNNSI.com named him to its First-Team All-American roster.
Shockey also earned Second-Team All-American honors from The Associated Press, CBS Sportsline, and ABC Sports.
Jeremy Shockey was about to bring his intense brand of football to The Big Apple in the National Football League.
Pro Football Career
The New York Giants were on the cusp of their third Vince Lombardi Trophy in the 2000 NFL season.
Alas, they lost to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV in blowout fashion, 34-7.
The Giants took a step backward in 2001.
They won just seven games in Jim Fassel’s fifth year at the helm.
Consequently, they missed the postseason for the third time in the past four years.
New York’s moribund offense was one of the reasons the team regressed in 2001.
The Giants’ 294 points that year ranked them 21st in the National Football League.
Jeremy Shockey, one of the best tight ends in college football, could help them immensely.
The New York Giants made Shockey the 14th overall selection of the 2002 NFL Draft.
The 6’5″, 251-lb. Shockey put his hard hat on and quickly went to work.
He recorded his first pro touchdown in a 26-21 win over the then-St. Louis Rams on September 15, 2002.
Shockey caught a pass from quarterback Kerry Collins on a sideline pattern to put the Giants ahead at 10-0.
He went on to record two games with at least 111 receiving yards during his rookie year.
Shockey punctuated the Giants’ 10-6 season with a sensational leaping touchdown catch in their 10-7 overtime win over their NFC East nemesis, the Philadelphia Eagles, on December 28, 2002.
— New York Giants (@Giants) July 2, 2019
He finished his rookie year in the Big Apple with 894 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 74 receptions in 15 games.
To nobody’s surprise, Shockey earned the first of his four Pro Bowl nods.
He was also named a First-Team All-Pro and earned Pepsi Rookie of the Year honors in 2002.
Unfortunately, the San Francisco 49ers scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull off the win over the Giants in their NFC Wild Card matchup on January 5, 2003, 39-38.
Shockey had 68 receiving yards and a touchdown on seven receptions in the heartbreaking loss.
Nonetheless, Jeremy Shockey’s NFL career was off to a rousing start.
Future Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan sang Shockey’s praises in the 2003 offseason, per Price:
“People don’t see the Jeremy who shows up at 6:30 in the morning every day to work out. They don’t see the Jeremy who stays after practice and catches balls – or does catching drills in the time between other drills, when everyone’s on a knee.”
“Jeremy makes it look easy because he works at it when no one’s looking.”
Shockey was limited to just nine games in the 2003 NFL campaign due to an injury.
Despite the setback, Shockey still had 535 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 48 receptions. He also earned his second straight Pro Bowl berth.
Shockey’s injury coincided with a Giants free fall in 2003.
New York won just four games that year – it was the Giants’ worst showing since the 1983 NFL season when they won just three games.
As expected, the team fired head coach Jim Fassel. Management replaced him with former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin.
Not only that, but the Giants also acquired former Ole Miss Rebels quarterback Eli Manning via a draft day trade with the then-San Diego Chargers in March 2004.
A new era – one that resulted in two Super Bowl trophies in the next seven seasons – had arrived in the Big Apple.
According to Pro Football NYC (via Bleacher Report), this marked a pivotal turning point in Jeremy Shockey’s NFL career.
Shockey seemed to resent the limelight that was focused on Manning. The former also “felt hindered” by Coughlin, who ran the Giants like a boot camp.
Despite Shockey’s resentments, he still had 666 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 61 receptions in the 2004 NFL season.
The Giants continued to mire in mediocrity – they won just six games that year and failed to qualify for the postseason again.
Nonetheless, Jeremy Shockey enjoyed several notable career highlights over the next two seasons.
The last Giants first-rounder to sign a long-term second contract w the team was Jeremy Shockey (5-yr extension in '05). Kiwanuka signed a 2-yr deal after his rookie contract expired. JPP was tagged twice before getting 4-yr deal last offseason.
Will Justin Pugh buck that trend?
— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) February 21, 2018
First, he signed a five-year, $26.38 million contract extension with the Giants on October 12, 2005.
The deal made him the highest-paid tight end in the pro ranks.
Shockey also had a single-season career-high seven touchdown receptions in each of the next two seasons.
His 891 receiving yards in 2005 were also a career-best.
Shockey consequently earned Pro Bowl honors in 2005 and 2006.
The Giants also had turned a corner – they averaged 10 wins during that span but lost in the Wild Card Game each time.
Shockey had a combined 75 receiving yards with no touchdowns in those two losses.
He also mourned the passing of Giants owner Wellington Mara in 2005.
Mara was the sole father figure in Shockey’s life, per Pro Football NYC.
“We had a connection,” Shockey told Giants.com in February 2010. “He and my grandfather were about the same age and we’d always talk about little things.”
Kyle Rudolph shares a story about former Giants TE Jeremy Shockey and Wellington Mara. pic.twitter.com/F6kz19UUWs
— Big Blue United (@BigBlueUnited) August 27, 2021
Shockey contributed 619 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 57 receptions to the Giants’ cause in the 2007 NFL season.
Backup tight end Kevin Boss took over Shockey’s starting spot after the latter fractured his fibula and injured his ankle in the regular-season finale against the then-Washington Redskins.
New York went 10-6 and upset the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
It was the Super Bowl game where Giants wide receiver David Tyree made that miraculous helmet catch to help New York prevail, 17-14.
During the Giants’ postseason run, fans and experts alike were wondering if they were better off without Shockey.
Regrettably, Shockey didn’t take the field in Super Bowl XLII. He watched the game from a private box after the team told him he couldn’t do it from the sidelines, per the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz.
Jeremy Shockey’s disenchantment with the team became more apparent when he skipped the team’s offseason workout program, the White House tribute to the Giants, and the blue-carpet ring presentation ceremony.
Word eventually leaked out Shockey wanted out of New York, per Schwartz.
The Giants traded him to the New Orleans Saints for two draft picks on July 21, 2008.
Two months later, Shockey admitted New York did the right thing in trading him.
“I think the Giants handled this whole thing correctly,” Shockey told ESPN The Magazine (via the New York Post’s Justin Terranova). “They did what was best for both sides. I would have just kept being a distraction.”
Shockey had the worst statistical year of his 10-season pro career with a mediocre 8-8 Saints team in 2008.
While Shockey had 483 yards on 50 receptions courtesy of his new quarterback Drew Brees, he had zero touchdowns that year.
¡Feliz Cumpleaños Jeremy Shockey!
Hoy 18 de agosto está cumpliendo 40 años. 🎂
Tight end quien quien jugó en la NFL desde 2002 a 2011 con New York Giants, New Orleans Saints y Carolina Panthers.🏈
4 Pro Bowl, 1 All Pro 2 Super Bowl (XLII y XLIV)🌟 pic.twitter.com/t8XlqSKASQ
— Que Pasa NFL (@quepasanfl) August 18, 2020
Shockey – a known party animal – collapsed at a Hard Rock Cafe pool party in Las Vegas and had to be carried out on a stretcher in May 2009.
He collapsed due to dehydration, per TMZ (via the New York Post’s Cathy Burke).
Shockey recorded 569 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 48 receptions for New Orleans in 2009.
He caught a touchdown pass in the Saints’ 34-3 romp over the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Wild Card Game.
Shockey also scored the go-ahead touchdown in the Saints’ 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
Jeremy Shockey had earned his second Super Bowl ring.
While Shockey had a career-low 408 receiving yards in the 2010 NFL campaign, he still managed to haul in three touchdown passes.
Unfortunately, the 11-5 Saints lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the 2010 NFC Wild Card Game (the famous “Beast Quake” game), on January 8, 2011, 41-36.
It was Jeremy Shockey’s last game in a New Orleans Saints uniform.
The Saints released him on February 22, 2011.
Less than two weeks later, the Carolina Panthers signed him to a one-year, $4 million deal.
Shockey had 37 receptions from rookie quarterback Cam Newton for 455 yards and four touchdowns.
The 6-10 Panthers bowed out of postseason contention for the fifth time in the past six years.
Jeremy Shockey had played his final down in the National Football League.
Despite reports saying Shockey won’t retire, he found no takers after he played out his one-year deal with the Panthers at the conclusion of the 2011 NFL season.
Shockey concluded his 10-year NFL career with 6,143 receiving yards and 37 touchdowns on 547 receptions.
Jeremy Shockey denied accusations from former NFL Network analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp that he was a whistle blower in the infamous New Orleans Saints bounty scandal in 2012.
Shockey married Daniela Cortazar in May 2012. Regrettably, they divorced just eight months later.
Jeremy Shockey was named a 2017 Miami Hurricanes Sports Hall Of Fame Inductee. He played for the Canes 2000-01. pic.twitter.com/cxJu0imtVE
— 𝙃𝙚𝙡𝙢𝙚𝙩 𝘼𝙙𝙙𝙞𝙘𝙩 (@HelmetAddict) September 26, 2016
The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame inducted Shockey in 2017.
Shockey currently resides at his Miami beach penthouse.