|Strahan confident he's the NFL's top defensive end|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 14 June 2007 12:23|
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Coming off his second major injury in three years and entering his 15th season, Michael Strahan of the New York Giants still believes he is the NFL's best defensive end.|
While that might sound boastful, the seven-time Pro Bowler didn't see it that way as the Giants conducted a three-day mandatory minicamp.
``I can still pop on the film and show you I am still the best at what I do,'' Strahan said. ``I mean that's my opinion.''
Strahan, who set the league's single-season sack record with 22 1/2 in 2001, has a lot to prove this season. He missed almost the entire second half of last season with a mid-foot sprain, and one has to wonder how much is left in the tank for a 35-year-old who's been an every-down fixture for most of his first 14 seasons.
``Coming back from the injury, I enjoy it because it's a challenge,'' Strahan said. ``After so many years, you kind of lose out on challenges. This is a challenge to myself, like when I came off the pec (pectoral) injury. Can I come back and play at 250 pounds?
``Now the challenge is can I come back and play on a bad foot, 15 years into it, and still try to be a Pro Bowl-type, All-Pro player. That's my own personal challenge, my own motivating factor.''
Coach Tom Coughlin isn't going to push Strahan for answers right now. During the minicamp at Giants Stadium, the veteran either went through conditioning drills with the training staff or stood with the defensive players and watched team drills.
The one thing that was obvious was that he was having fun being around the guys, most of whom are at least 10 years younger.
Even Strahan realizes their interests are different: When the new guys talk about shoes, it's not the kind a person wears on the feet. It's the wheels on their cars.
Strahan laughs and shakes his head, thinking about his new generation gap. His voice is serious when it comes to football.
``As long as I feel good, as long as I feel like I can contribute and they want me around, I will keep going,'' Strahan said Wednesday. ``You love the competition of it, the camaraderie of it. Once I don't enjoy that and I can't contribute, it's time to pack it up.''
Strahan doesn't see that now.
Before being hurt against Houston in the eighth game of the season, Strahan said teams still had to double- and triple-team him in passing situations. He said his play against the run was second to none.
``Guys who have been here 14 or 15 years, they sit you on the bench and tell you to watch the young guy and tell him what he is doing wrong,'' Strahan said. ``For me, I still get treated out on the field with the same respect, the way I was treated five or 10 years ago. Now my goal is to make them do what they used to do, double-team me and challenge me.''
Strahan noted that when he missed half of the 2004 season with a chest injury, he returned the following season and had 11 1/2 sacks in helping the Giants win the NFC East. It earned him another Pro Bowl berth.
The foot injury this time isn't a concern, Strahan said. He returned late last season against New Orleans and aggravated the sprain in his right foot, blaming it on trying to do too much in his first game back.
Coughlin is going to limit Strahan to one practice during training camp. Strahan loves that idea, noting that he hates practices and lives for the games.
``For me, I love the competition of it, to be out on the field looking at a guy who is bigger than me, knowing I need to beat him to accomplish what I want to do,'' Strahan said. ``That's the challenge that I like. I still have that fight in me. If I didn't, it would be time to pack it up.''
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