Giants' Strahan decides to play, ending holdout Print
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Saturday, 01 September 2007 02:21
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 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Rejecting the urge to retire, Michael Strahan has decided to play a 15th season with the New York Giants, and possibly even more.
The seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end had his agent announce Friday that he was ending a 36-day holdout and would report to the Giants early next week.
``He went with his heart instead of his head,'' Tony Agnone, his agent, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Friday night. ``He felt at this point he was part of the team, and he was going to go to battle with them.''
The decision came a day before the Giants had to cut their roster to the 53-man limit and a little more than a week before the season opener at Dallas on Sept. 9.
``He knows he'll be ready to go,'' Agnone said of playing in the season opener. ``He's been working out like crazy.''
Strahan left the West Coast on Friday and planned to be at Giants Stadium on Monday when the team begins preparing for the Cowboys. He will have four practices before the game.
And Strahan might play longer than the 2007 season.
``This does not mean at the end of the year that he is going to retire,'' Agnone said. ``He is going to sit down again in March like he always does, and he said: 'I won't be doing this next year.'''
Agnone said Strahan informed Giants general manager Jerry Reese of his decision to play around 5 p.m. EDT. Agnone would not say when Strahan made up his mind, but he added the NFL's single-season sacks leader did not want to keep the team hanging.
The 35-year-old Strahan missed the entire training camp at the University at Albany and all four preseason games. He was assessed $514,368 in fines, $14,288 for each day he missed.
Agnone said the Giants agreed to reduce the fine total, but Strahan still will pay a ``significant amount of money.''
Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said the team had no comment, and Reese did not return an e-mail seeking comment.
The announcement of Strahan's decision came just hours after a frustrated coach Tom Coughlin said he was taking the approach that Strahan would not play this season.
Coughlin seemed upset that Strahan still was mulling retirement more than five weeks after training camp opened. He also was annoyed that Strahan's absence made it tough to make final roster decisions and to pick a practice squad.
Third-year man Justin Tuck has started at left end in the preseason, and he has played well.
Strahan, who is to make $4 million this season, had mulled retirement while considering a career in television, insisting the decision had nothing to do with money.
In a letter to Giants fans last month, Strahan said the holdout had nothing to do with his recent divorce, in which a judge awarded his former wife $15.3 million. Strahan has paid half that amount, and an appellate court granted him a temporary stay while it considers whether the award was too much.
 

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