Michael Strahan reflects on his New York legacy

Michael Strahan is out of this world in many ways.

The former New York Giants defense point will go into space in December as the guest of honor on the next flight operated by Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin.

And his jersey will be knocked out by the Giants during halftime of Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Needless to say, it’s a big month for the Hall of Famer.

Strahan played 15 seasons with the Giants and the team will retire his number 92 on Sunday against a divisional opponent. A seven-time Pro Bowl roster, Strahan registered 141.5 sacks with the Giants, the second most in franchise history behind Lawrence Taylor. Strahan was also the NFL’s 2001 Defensive Player of the Year when he set the single-season sack record with 22.5. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

In his post-football career, Strahan has made a living for himself as a co-host of “Good Morning America” ​​and works as a football analyst for FOX.

Before Strahan was one of those things, he seemed, seemingly, just like any other youngster getting their big break in New York — shy and quiet. Strahan thanks the city of New York for making him the player and the man he is today.

“I just think that when you’re in New York and you’re a giant, you have no choice but to sink or swim,” Strahan said. “You either adapt to it or you don’t, and I’ve adapted, I think, to what was expected of me to play here. It brought out a lot of my personality because it was almost forced out of me. But there’s no city ​​like New York City It’s the best place in the world to be successful It’s true if you do one thing in New York you can do anything My life is a living proof of that I’m very grateful to go to coming to this city and being in New York has stirred all this up in me.”

As the day to give up his number approaches, Strahan thought back to some of his favorite memories as a giant, such as when Lawrence Taylor walked into the locker room. The first time Phil Simms said “Hello Michael”. The first time he got hit hard in training, he realized he needed to get stronger.

Strahan said he remembers what he and former Giants linebacker Jessie Armstead said to each other before every game. All teammates: Keith Hamilton, Jason Sehorn, Eli Manning, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora. Manning suffocated after the two won Super Bowl XLII against the Patriots.

That Super Bowl, in which the Giants defeated the undefeated Patriots 17-14, shaped Strahan’s legacy. Strahan is known for running up and down the sidelines during the match, saying, “17-14. Believe and it will happen.”

“That Super Bowl was the biggest thing — that’s pretty much one of the biggest things that ever happened to me,” Strahan said. “Winning that Super Bowl, especially in the way we did it, against the team we competed against with that record they had, definitely put me in a different light to a lot of people — leading to an incredible life. “

Strahan said he wondered if he would have played another season if the Giants hadn’t won all year.

“So many things happen in your life that you look back on and think, ‘Man, I’m glad it worked out,'” Strahan said. “At that moment you are a bit in it. You don’t think about whether I do it or not. I’m smart enough to understand that playing in New York is special to an athlete.”

Because of his performance with the Giants, Strahan added that he was a little surprised that it took the organization so long to knock out his number. It has been 14 years since Strahan was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“I honestly expected it for a long time,” Strahan said. “All the things I’ve done with the Giants I expected a little earlier, but it’s still an honor. Things come in the time they are meant to come and not when you sometimes want them to come. That’s the way I look at it. I don’t want it to seem like I’m ungrateful or not honored by it, because I really am. I probably expected it to come a little earlier than it did.”

Perhaps it was worth the wait, though, as the Giants are retiring Strahan’s number as they host a team against which the former pass-rusher played very well in his career. Strahan registered 21.5 sacks against Philly, his most against any team. Even if the Eagles fans are cheering in the stands, Strahan said he doesn’t care.

“They could pull my jersey — the Giants could do it in Philadelphia,” Strahan said. “That wouldn’t bother me. I’m used to Eagles fans and it’s very fitting to have it done against the Eagles. But if there are Eagles fans who are cheering, I want them to do that, because if they’re not cheering, it means I wasn’t very good at my job… I’ve always loved playing against the Philadelphia Eagles. They were always good for a few sacks per game.”

Although Strahan has been removed from the organization in recent years, he said he still watches every game and remains a fan of the team and the city he has long called home.

“Do I look at it and think I can get off my couch sometimes and go play and help the team?” asked Strahan. “Absolutely. But I do think at this point the team has to find a way to get back to where we are to be competitive to the point where you go to a game and you think, ‘okay’, you know?

“The point is there are so many games that we have literally lost – and I say ‘we’ as if I’m still there because once a Giant always a Giant – but there are so many games that are on the last second or on the penalty. or things like that, which completely changed the season for this team I just want the team to understand that they are not far away Don’t wait for someone to save you because nobody feels sorry for you in this league if you lose You just get to work and save yourself that would be my message to them.”

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