Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 10-31-14

Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.


By Dave Klein
Defensive end Michael Strahan, the last member of the Giants to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will receive his ring at halftime Monday night - on national television (ESPN) - when the only team he ever played for takes on the Indianapolis Colts.

Strahan joined a list of 21 Giants (31 if you count the 10 who made it but played or coached for another team) in the Canton, O., edifice. Those 21 Giants include founder Tim Mara and his son, subsequent co-owner Wellington Mara.

The halftime ceremony will include the actual bronze bust of Strahan, which has been shipped in from Ohio for the presentation. Strahan will also preside as the Giants' honorary captain for the coin toss prior to the game.

In addition, more than 100 former players will be present for this so-called "Homecoming Weekend." A short list includes Ottis Anderson, Carl Banks, Mark Bavaro, Tucker Frederickson, George Martin, Joe Morris, Gary Reasons and Bob Tucker, and the halftime ceremony will include the presence of some of Strahan's former teammates, including Jessie Armstead, Howard Cross, Rodney Hampton, Antonio Pierce, Jason Sehorn, Amani Toomer, David Tyree - and Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor, Frank Gifford and Harry Carson.

Strahan was a second-round draft pick in 1993 and played through the 2007 season. He was on two victorious Super Bowl teams and was an outspoken leader in the locker room and on the field - sometimes to the discomfort of the team's management.

When the Giants made the blockbuster trade in April 2004 secured quarterback Eli Manning, Strahan was publicly and vehemently opposed to the deal. "We don't need a rookie quarterback," he said. "It will take too long for him to learn the position. The rest of us will have to wait and that's just not right."

Then general manager Ernie Accorsi calmed him down, and tried to do the same with veteran quarterback Kerry Collins, but with less success. Collins burst into Accorsi's office a few days after the trade, violently objecting to the draft. "I ain't no [expletive deleted] baby-sitter," he screamed. "I'm outta here."

Accorsi tried to explain to the former Penn State All-American that he would not lose any money, and that he would, in fact, receive more, but Collins would have none of it. He left, signed with the Oakland Raiders and later played for the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts, and Accorsi was right - he never earned as much as the Giants were willing to pay him to stay and be that "baby-sitter."

Instead, the Giants signed veteran Kurt Warner, who started the 2004 season but gave way to Manning at the midway point. He has never relinquished the position since.

It would be difficult to forget Strahan on the sideline of Super Bowl 42, when he was racing up and down the bench exhorting the team for one more defensive stand. "Just one more and it's ours," he was screaming. "Just one more stop."

The Giants got that stop and got the championship, and it turned out - fittingly - to be Strahan's final game.

He played at Texas Southern University, having grown up in Germany while his father was in the U.S. Army. Strahan only played football in his senior year in high school.

The coaches and players will take the field Monday night by running through a gauntlet of the former Giants during pregame introductions, and the National Anthem will be performed by Grammy Award winner Chris Botti.

Head coach Tom Coughlin is impressed by the more than 100 former Giants who will attend the Strahan ceremonies. "It's a tribute to Michael, and it upholds the old saying that Mr. [Wellington] Mara used to say: ‘Once a Giant, always a Giant.' It's a special night for him and for all of us."

EXTRA POINTS - Guard Geoff Schwartz, who has missed the entire season thus far, is "kind of ready" but Coughlin says "it would be a reach" to see him in the game Monday night. ... "But he's close now," he added.

Newly-acquired cornerback Michael Harris may see game action, and since he was a nickel back in Jacksonville there is a chance that he'll get the same position Monday night - except the Colts' slot receiver is superstar T.Y. Hilton, which might be something of an over-match. ... The Giants are 3-point underdogs against Indianapolis.

Despite early-week rumors, running back Rashad Jennings will not be available for the game Monday night. ... That leaves the job to rookie Andre Williams again, and he'd better mature in a rush to give the Giants a running game they can play off the passing game.

Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
- Team Giants

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