Giants' Kevin Gilbride retires

ByDAN GRAZIANO via <a href="" title="SportCenter" class="espn_sc_byline">SPORTSCENTER </a>
January 02, 2014, 6:00 PM

&#151; -- The New York Giants will indeed be in the market for a new offensive coordinator.

Kevin Gilbride, who has held the job on a full-time basis since 2007, announced his retirement Thursday night.

Fox Sports 1 first reported that Gilbride would step down. 

"It's hard to say, 'It's time,'" Gilbride, 62, said in news release sent out by the Giants. "To finally do it, it's a very unnatural feeling. I've been telling my wife [Debbie] for years I was going to do it. She moved back to Rhode Island [where she helps care for a granddaughter when the Gilbrides' daughter is working], so I've been by myself in the hotel for three or four years. I knew this was it and I was going to do it. I finally pulled the trigger. But it's difficult."

A source close to the situation said that former Giants assistant Mike Sullivan, recently fired as Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator along with coach Greg Schiano, is a leading candidate to replace Gilbride. The team is expected to bring Sullivan in for an interview.

Coach Tom Coughlin expressed support for his coaching staff Monday, but owner John Mara said he believed the offense to be "broken." The expectation around the team was that it would be strongly suggested to (if not demanded of) Coughlin that the Giants make a change at offensive coordinator.

"I have great respect for Kevin and Debbie and their family, so it's not an easy thing to part ways," Coughlin said in a statement released Thursday. "Kevin is a professional. He's been an exceptional football coach for the New York Giants. He helped win two Super Bowl championships. Kevin was the play-caller in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. He has done a great service to the franchise."

The Giants finished 28th in total offense this season. The offensive line couldn't protect quarterback Eli Manning, who had the worst season of his career. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks played poorly in his contract season and failed to catch a single touchdown pass. Tight end Brandon Myers was a flop, and the run game never showed up thanks to injuries.

Nevertheless, blame appears to have fallen on Gilbride, who was Coughlin's offensive coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995-96, and came with him to the Giants as quarterbacks coach in 2004. He was promoted to interim offensive coordinator in 2006. The interim tag was removed in 2007.

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