After a 15-year certain Hall-of-Fame career, Strahan says he has played his last NFL snap.
“It was important that my teammates knew which way I was going before they got on the field to start the work to defend our title,” Strahan told foxsports.com. “It's time. I'm done.”
“He’s been a great leader, a great player,” Eli Manning said. “Everyone on this team respects him.”
Strahan’s closest friend on the team, Osi Umenyiora, seemed hurt that he had to find out the news after practice and not from Strahan himself. However, he said he was happy that Strahan, Big Blue’s all-time sack leader, was able to retire, “at the top of his game.”
A lot of the defensive leadership and productivity void will now fall on Umenyiora, who stated that Strahan was “probably the best Giant ever, in my opinion.”
Justin Tuck will take over the starting left defensive end spot that Strahan has held down for more than the last decade. He wouldn’t even admit Strahan was actually finished playing until he was able to speak to him himself.
“He basically taught every defensive end in this locker room how to play,” Tuck said.
Umenyiora said he tried his best to keep number 92 in uniform.
“I tried to (talk him out of it) on numerous occasions,” he said. “It’s going to be very, very difficult to fill his shoes.”
Only seconds after Strahan’s decision become known, the talk began that Mathias Kiwanuka would return to defensive end. It says right here that Kiwi isn’t going anywhere and will remain at strong side linebacker. However, if a move were required, Kiwanuka said he could handle it with ease.
“If they came to me mid-game I could switch back,” he said.
But on this day, Umenyiora wanted only to reflect on Strahan’s record-breaking career.
“It’s a very sad day for me personally,” Umenyiora said. “I love that guy; he was like a brother to me.”