Positive Impact

Tyree's Table restaurantFrom a new healthy eatery  to a podcast and public speaking, David Tyree is on a mission to help others flourish.

David Tyree ’03 may be best known for making the legendary “helmet catch” to help the New York Giants score the game-winning touchdown in the 2008 Super Bowl, a play ranked No. 3 in the “NFL 100 Greatest.”

But the former gridiron star is serving up SuperBowls of a different kind at his new Morristown, New Jersey, eatery, Tyree’s Table, opened with his wife, Leilah Tyree ’02, and his father, GP, in September. “The concept behind Tyree’s Table is to serve people healthy options on the go. We all love pizza or a bagel, but over time, that doesn’t serve us well,” says Tyree.

The restaurant serves a variety of fresh acai bowls, salads, smoothies, wraps and sandwiches. In the evening, the space becomes available for fundraisers, charity events and team dinners. “There’s room for everyone at the table. It's hopefully going to become a hub within the community that serves more than just fresh juices, but also creates an experience for people to elevate themselves,” Tyree says.

A native of Montclair, New Jersey, Tyree was recruited to Syracuse University to play football. A four-year letter winner, the wide receiver finished his career ranked 13th on the career receiving record list with 1,214 yards. He also developed a reputation for being an excellent special teams player, amassing six blocked punts.

Leilah and David Tyree

He met Leilah, a nursing major, during his second semester at Syracuse. “I first saw her at a welcome back party at Schine at the beginning of the semester. A few days later, I went to my statistics class and she was in it,” says Tyree. “She stuck with me through a lot.”

The oldest of the couple’s seven children, Teyon, now 21, was born in Syracuse. Tyree earned his degree in consumer studies and was drafted by the New York Giants in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL draft.

While Tyree projected success on the field, substance abuse and reckless decision making ran its course. After his first season, he was arrested on drug charges during a routine traffic stop. Shame, disappointment, and a girlfriend expecting a child drove him to a crossroad resulting a radical transformation through his faith in Christ. He returned to the Giants for five more seasons and another with the Ravens before retiring from play in 2010.

Tyree spent two years as a player benefits assistant manager with the NFL before rejoining the Giants as director of player development, a front office executive role that focused on player transition, leadership development, and total wellness.

In 2019, he and Leilah opened their first restaurant venture, a franchise of the juice bar, Clean Juice. Then came the pandemic. To his dismay, his position with the Giants was not renewed. Suddenly, he found himself trying to keep his juice bar afloat while helping to homeschool his seven kids. “I was not prepared for that,” he says.

But three years later, Tyree’s business enterprise, DT3, is thriving. In addition to the new restaurant, which Leilah runs on a day-to-day basis, he is focused on public speaking and consulting, working with organizations including Kentucky football and the Chicago Bulls, and his podcast, Catch the Moment, a platform that elevates and celebrates stories of people from every walk of life who find solutions to problems and overcome obstacles.

In both roles, Tyree says he draws from his own experiences—both positive and negative—to help people champion their own lives. “I've always been into human capital and seeing people flourish,” he says. “That is the commonality of my brand between all of my ventures.”

This summer, to commemorate 15 years since his Super Bowl victory, Tyree launched Catch Camp, a camp for youth 11-18 that focuses on the foundations of football as well as leadership development and careers in sports. “We feed the dream and paint the reality,” he says.

While sports launched the trajectory of his professional career, Tyree says his new phase as an entrepreneur is very exciting. He credits Leilah for the ability to manage the couple’s busy household and multiple business ventures. “My wife is the most dynamic human in the world. I like to say that I married the first piece of artificial intelligence, because the way that she functions at such a high level and still has the capacity to love and serve me is supernatural,” he says.

Although Tyree doesn’t live a “celebrity” life, he recognizes his Helmet Catch as a moment of validation and celebration that people identify with. “I'm excited to allow the catch to be the centerpiece for my name to be in a position to serve others,” he says. “Our restaurant is one expression of that, but getting the opportunity to inspire and equip others along the way is what we're really excited about.”