Strahan’s will to play eventually shows up

first_img“I wanted to enjoy it. I wanted to come here and enjoy myself, play football, enjoy my teammates and the fans and just do it – do it one more time.” Strahan, who accumulated fines in excess of $500,000 during his holdout, left open the possibility he will play beyond the 2007 season, which begins for the Giants on Sunday night in Dallas. Neither Strahan nor Coach Tom Coughlin was certain the 35-year-old would play in Dallas. The Giants have a two-game roster exemption in case he isn’t ready. “He appears to be in good shape,” Coughlin said. “Of course he hasn’t had any contact. But we have to work our way through all of that.” The seven-time Pro Bowler said he had every intention of reporting to training camp at the University at Albany in late July when his desire to play suddenly waned. From news services Michael Strahan dropped thoughts of retirement and returned to the New York Giants for a 15th NFL season because his desire to play football and his love of the game were rekindled. He also, not incidentally, still wants a Super Bowl ring. “You know you just want to come back,” a bearded Strahan said Tuesday after rejoining the team and practicing. “I felt I wanted to play football, plain and simple. “As you train and get ready leading up into the season, sometimes you wait for that feeling to come, and for me that feeling didn’t come when camp was there,” Strahan said in a news conference in Giants Stadium. “So instead of going there and being halfhearted into something and possibly getting hurt and not wanting to be there and leaving after initially showing up, I decided I have to do what is right for me.” So he took the next 39 days to ponder if he wanted to return. He admitted it wasn’t an easy decision. His father, Gene, might have made it tougher by telling his son that he had accomplished everything there is to do in football. Strahan is the NFL’s active sacks leader with 132 and the holder of the single-season record for sacks, 22 . “Basically, he said to me: `Son, you did enough,”‘ Strahan said. “It’s hard to go against that.” What swayed Strahan were a couple of other things: Giants fans who saw him pleaded with him to play, and Giants co-owner Steve Tisch paid a visit and told him it was not the way he should want to leave the game. Talks with Warren Sapp and Marshall Faulk also helped. Both have been on Super Bowl winners. When Strahan asked Faulk how he felt about retirement, the response was interesting. “Great!” Strahan recalled him saying. “You have a ring, don’t you?” Teammates were pleased to see Strahan in the locker room again. None seemed overly concerned that he missed all of training camp while they sweated through two-a-day workouts. “Stray looked good,” said defensive end Justin Tuck, who played left end in his absence and continued to work with the first team Tuesday. “A lot of guys definitely thought he was on the beach, drinking margaritas and looking at pretty women. “He definitely knows what it takes to play in this league.” Although Strahan has failed to finish two of the last three seasons because of injuries, tackle Barry Cofield wasn’t worried about him getting hurt again. “If it wasn’t a guy used to getting pounded by 330-pound guys, he would probably be at risk,” Cofield said. “For someone like Stray, who has been through so much, he’ll know how to protect himself out there.” Trotter joins Buccaneers Four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jeremiah Trotter signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two weeks after he was released in a surprise move by Philadelphia. It was not immediately clear how the 30-year-old middle linebacker, one of the leaders of the Eagles for most of the last decade, fits into Coach Jon Gruden’s plans. Linebacker is one of the strongest and deepest positions on the team. To make room on the roster, the Bucs released receiver Taye Biddle. The team also signed receiver Michael Spurlock to the practice squad. Trotter started 16 regular-season and two playoff games for the Eagles last season, finishing with a team-high 161 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble. He has appeared in 131 career games in seven seasons with Philadelphia and two with the Washington Redskins. Around the league Chiefs: Kansas City claimed linebacker Johnny Baldwin off waivers from Detroit. The Chiefs also added wide receiver Bobby Sippio to their practice squad. Sippio was in training camp with the Chiefs after spending the previous four seasons in the Arena Football League, where he caught 354 passes for 5,137 yards with 142 touchdowns. Panthers: Carolina released former starting tight end Michael Gaines after reaching an injury settlement. Gaines, a four-year pro, was placed on injured reserve Saturday but wanted an opportunity to play elsewhere this season and elected to take the injury settlement. Eagles: All-Pro guard Shawn Andrews (ankle) and tight end L.J. Smith (groin) missed the entire preseason, but took part in a light practice Monday. The real test comes when they wear full pads today and Thursday. If both players return to action, it’ll be a big boost for the offense. Texans: Police are investigating a weekend break-in at the suburban Houston home of cornerback Dunta Robinson, in which an occupant was bound and jewelry was stolen. The suspects, wearing Dodgers baseball caps and red bandanas covering their faces, escaped with several pieces of jewelry. Browns: Long snapper Ryan Pontbriand signed a four-year contract extension. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img