It took 15 years, 216 games, seven Pro-Bowl appearance, 141.5 sacks and a championship ring for NY Giants DE Michael Strahan to decide that it was time to call it quits from the NFL. The longtime fan favorite announced Monday that he would be retiring from football after an amazing run as one of the best defensive ends the game has ever seen.
“I know there are a lot of tackles in the league getting excited right now,” said receiver Amani Toomer, who played side by side for 12 seasons with the man everyone called “Stray.”
By deciding not to return for the final year of his contract, Strahan is passing up over $4 million dollars this season. His agent, Tony Agnone, said the Giants even offered him more money after the incredible upset victory over the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
“Money was never the issue for him,” Agnone told The Associated Press. “Really I thought he was going to retire before last season. I’m happy he stayed around.”
In sticking around for one final season, Strahan was able to win the ring he had long desired and is now able to go out on top, something few athletes ever have the chance to do. He made the official announcement to Giants co-owner John Mara on Monday morning.
“I told him he’s been a great Giant,” Mara said Monday. “He thanked me for everything the organization has done for him. I said, ‘I think you’ve done more for us than we can ever do for you.”
Strahan not only leaves the Giants as their all-time leader in sacks but with the NFL single season sack record of 22.5 which came back in 2001. He was referred to as the locker room leader and often viewed as a mentor to many of the younger players entering the league.
“I knew it was going to (eventually) happen,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “He had a tremendous career. If that is the case, he picked a great season to go out on.”
Strahan will be missed by many, but not by offensive linemen or opposing quarterbacks, they will be glad to see him leave. This is the ultimate sign of respect.
Congratulations Michael on a great career.