Michael Strahan may be feeling a bit of pressure to finally get his act together and get into Giants training camp. The defensive end called both head coach Tom Coughlin and GM Jerry Reese on Monday, and both Coughlin and Reese said that he would be a welcome presence at camp. The team worked out former Buccaneers d-lineman Simeon Rice recently, adding fuel that Strahan would either retire or wait a long time to be on the field again for the Giants. ‘I told him, ‘Michael, we’ll move forward as if you’re not going to be here. You haven’t made a commitment that you’re going to come,'” Reese said in today’s edition of Newsday. “I said that we can’t sit on our hands, and he respects that.”
The word all along was that Strahan was holding out for more money, but a source told Newsday that the reason he is not in camp is not money, but it’s about the desire to want to play again. So far Strahan has incurred fines for $71,440 for missing five days of training camp. No deadline by the Giants has been set for Strahan, but with the team bringing in a player like Rice, you have to believe they are already to move on. Strahan, on the other hand, has been speaking to friends in the league, one of which was former Chiefs and Saints tackle Willie Roaf. He did this to get their opinion if he should step away from the game or not.
Coach Coughlin did make one thing clear to Strahan, and that was he did not want 2007 to the the “Strahan Retirement Tour” like 2006 was for running back Tiki Barber. “We do have 86 guys out here right now who are playing hard and have a good attitude, and that is where the focus should be,” Coughlin said between the first two Giants practices with pads. “The focus should be on our team. Michael knows that.” As far as Rice goes, the team would not mind having both Strahan and Rice, and they made that known in their conversations with Strahan. “I told him that we would love for him to be here,” Reese said. “But only if he wants to be here 100 percent and come back and be a great teammate like he has always been.”