ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -Mike Waufle doesn't want to envision a season without Michael Strahan at left end.
So the New York Giants defensive line coach has been text messaging the seven-time Pro Bowler in hopes of nudging him away from the grasps of retirement.
``The thing that I told him is that we have a good team, and I feel he is too young to retire,'' Waufle said Thursday. ``He loves the game so much.''
Waufle said he has developed a special relationship with Strahan since joining the Giants coaching staff in 2004. The two have been in contact several times over the past week, but Waufle had no news on Strahan's now weeklong holdout.
Strahan's agent, Tony Agnone, informed the team last Thursday that the 35-year-old would not report to camp and that he was mulling retirement.
Waufle even tried to needle Strahan, noting he was an assistant on a Raiders team that included Jerry Rice, Rich Gannon, Tim Brown, Bill Romanowski and Trace Armstrong - all older than 38.
``So, I said, 'You're still a young pup,''' Waufle said. ``So, I try to needle him with that and try to lure him. But we have fun because of our relationship. It is his decision, obviously, but he is an emotional leader for this team.''
The Giants have moved forward as if Strahan, the No. 1 sack leader among active players with 132 1/2, will not be back this season.
Simeon Rice, who ranks second behind Strahan among active players, took a physical for the Giants in New York City on Wednesday. He later met with coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese at training camp and had dinner with team officials Wednesday night. He left the area Thursday.
``It was a business trip for all involved,'' Reese said Thursday.
Andrew Kessler, Rice's agent, did not return a telephone call or an e-mail left by The Associated Press.
Coughlin said he felt Rice, who was released by Tampa Bay last week after failing a physical, was interested in playing for the Giants.
``It was a good opportunity to sit and visit with a guy that I have known for a long time,'' Coughlin said. ``As a high school player in Chicago, I recruited him.''
Coughlin said Rice also is being looked at by other teams.
Still, Waufle hopes Strahan decides to play, a feat that would pay him $4 million this season, minus a $14,288 fine for each day of camp that he misses.
``I love Michael Strahan and feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach him,'' Waufle said. ``He is a Hall of Fame player, and he has been a great New York Giant. We want him to go out on a high note.''

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