Michael Strahan scored three times during his 15 years in New York and was a bulwark of strength on defense. In the locker room, his signature gap-toothed smile was ever-present, and he was always a receptive interview for the media, win or lose. His league-wide stature was evident in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack, when he was in the forefront of the group of players who successfully pushed to cancel the following week’s games out of respect for the dead.
The son of a career military man, Strahan was a solid but opinionated citizen after coming to the NFL as a second-round pick out of Texas Southern in 1993. That year, he and fellow rookie Jesse Armstead got to send off Lawrence Taylor and Phil Simms and assume the mantle of team leadership.
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However, Strahan was also a moody and overly sensitive player. His teammate Glenn Parker once sarcastically told Mike Freeman of The New York Times that he had seen grapes with thicker skin than Strahan. When Tiki Barber publicly criticized Strahan for his contract demands, it created a rift between the two that would never heal.
Even in his moment of greatest triumph, when he set a new single-season sack record with 22.5 in 2001, Strahan engendered criticism because Brett Favre allowed himself to be sacked at the end of the game so that Strahan could break the record. Strahan sacked more than 60 different quarterbacks during his career; he passed Lawrence Taylor as the Giants’ all-time leading sacker in 2007. A seven-time Pro Bowl selection, Strahan twice led the NFL in sacks.
While he used a host of different pass-rushing techniques, he was primarily a bull rusher who took advantage of his great strength to push past offensive
Michael Strahan celebrates his game-winning overtime interception return in a Halloween matchup against the Eagles in 1999.
Even so, he was equally adept at stopping the run and was the most complete defensive end in the league since Hall of Famer Reggie White. Strahan announced his retirement in June 2008.