Michael Strahan isn't quite sure what to expect from this year's Giants. Which could be a good thing.
"It's really tough for me, because the team has changed so much," Strahan said Wednesday on a conference call preceding his Hall of Fame induction Aug. 2 in Canton, Ohio. There are a lot of guys I'm not familiar with, outside of Eli Manning. So I don't know what to expect. I just think it's so unpredictable."
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Then again, Strahan thinks it might be a good omen that not much is expected from a team coming off a 7-9 season and in the midst of a major roster overhaul.
"The great thing about the Giants," he said, "is whenever you don't expect anything, they end up winning Super Bowls."
Strahan should know. His final season with the Giants was in 2007, and there were few expectations for the team. They wound up winning the Super Bowl. And in 2011, the Giants were again considered long shots, but won the championship that season, too.
Many of Strahan's former teammates and coaches, including Manning and Tom Coughlin, will be on hand in Canton to see him inducted. The former defensive end, who played 15 seasons with the Giants and still holds the NFL's single-season sack record (221/2), as well as the Giants' franchise record for sacks (1411/2), is thrilled at the greatest honor a player can receive.
He joins former Giants linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson, as well as late owner Wellington Mara, among other franchise legends in the Hall of Fame.
"It's overwhelming to be honored with them," Strahan said. "Mr. Mara was there when I was drafted [in 1992]. He was at practice every day and he was one of the original pioneers of the game. On top of that, Harry Carson being a great friend of mine and LT, being a great friend and the one guy I looked up to when I came in.
"So much history on the side of the Giants, and you can see we all spent our career in one place. It goes to show it's a family. [Being in the Hall of Fame] is nothing I had in my brain, nothing I imagined when I started out that I'd be joining these guys in the Hall of Fame. I'm honored to be doing so. You're recognized as one of the best that's ever played the game. There's not much more you could say."
Strahan said he looks forward to joining friend and mentor Deacon Jones in Canton. Jones, a defensive end for the Rams who played in the 1960s and '70s died in June of 2013. The two became friends during Strahan's career.
"From before the Pro Bowls, til after the Pro Bowls and the Super Bowl and everything else, Deacon was always there for me and always a father figure, a mentor," Strahan said. "Sadly for us, he's not around any more. But I'll talk to his bust and speak to him. Deacon was my guy. He took care of me. He had the best stories and the most encouragement throughout my career."