Michael Strahan New York Giants
"I love the game of football because there’s nothing like it. I mean the challenge, the discipline, the teamwork…Football is such an incredible, incredible game.”
Defensive End Michael Strahan was taken in the second round, 40th player overall, in the 1993 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. At Texas Southern he had a reputation for sacking quarterbacks as demonstrated by his school record 41.5 career sacks. That ability transitioned well to the pro level and by the time his 15-season NFL career ended, he ranked fifth all-time in sack leaders and was the Giants’ record holder with 141.5 career sacks.
A foot injury limited Strahan to nine games as a rookie. He became the regular starter as right defensive end in 1994 and responded with 4.5 sacks that season and a team-high 7.5 more the following year. In 1996, due to injuries on the Giants defensive line, Strahan was moved to left defensive end. He started all 16 games at that position and tied for the team lead with five sacks. In 1997, he recorded 14 sacks to finish tied third in the league. He was named All-Pro and voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time. It marked the first of five seasons in which he earned first-team All-Pro accolades and the first of seven Pro Bowl berths.
Strahan, who was also noted as one of the best defensive ends defending against the run, enjoyed his finest season in 2001 when he established the new NFL record with 22.5 sacks and led the league with a career-high seven forced fumbles. For his efforts he was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. Two seasons later, he added a second NFL sack crown when he registered 18.5 quarterback takedowns.
A torn pectoral muscle put Strahan on the sidelines for the second half of the 2004 season but he rebounded in 2005 by starting all 16 regular season games and contributed with 11.5 sacks. It marked the sixth time over a nine-season span from 1997 to 2005 that he registered double-digit sacks totals.
He started at left defensive end for the Giants in two NFC championship victories and two Super Bowls. The final appearance of his NFL career came during New York’s thrilling 17-14 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. He recorded two tackles, added one assist, garnered one sack and had one pass defensed in the game.
Strahan was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.