Friday, August 31, 2007

N.Y. Giants Thank Their Lucky Stars - Strahan Will Return [J. Mark English]

Hats off to Jerry Reese (the Giants GM), who refused to give in to Strahan's hold out. Strahan may have had his reasons to hold out for a better contract, but Reese would have none of it, even at the risk of losing their best defensive player. As a result the Giants will remain in good financial shape as far as the salary cap is concerned, and can expect to have a solid defensive front going into the regular season.

For more on the conclusion of how it all played out, here is John Branch of the New York Times:

Michael Strahan will rejoin the Giants today and expects to play in the team’s regular-season opener Sunday, Sept. 9, against the Cowboys in Dallas.

Strahan had not reported to the Giants since training camp opened July 27, and told the team that he was considering retirement. He gave few clues to his intentions until he informed the Giants yesterday afternoon that he would return for a 15th season.

“He ultimately decided that he wanted to play,” said Tony Agnone, Strahan’s agent. “He wanted to contribute to the team and didn’t want to leave his teammates hanging.”

The Giants will not fine Strahan the full amount that they had threatened through the holdout — $514,368 through yesterday — but Strahan will owe the Giants “a significant amount,” Agnone said. He declined to release the figure.

The Giants had told Strahan early during the holdout that they would fine him the league-maximum of $14,288 a day.

Strahan’s contract will remain unchanged. The active N.F.L. leader in sacks, with 132 ½, Strahan, 35, is due to make $4 million in salary this season.

His decision to return came a day after the team’s fourth and final preseason game, and the day before the Giants have to cut their roster from 75 players to 53, the maximum allowed during the regular season.

The Giants are not scheduled to practice this weekend. They will resume preparations for the regular season Monday. The Giants will not only be interested to see if Strahan is in strong enough condition to play against the Cowboys, but they also are curious to see how well he has healed from a foot sprain he sustained last season, which kept him out of seven games and forced him to spend the end of the season on injured reserve.

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