Michael Strahan demonstrated fine timing by helping the Giants win Super Bowl XLII in his final NFL game. On Saturday, he can take another dramatic turn by being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the city he calls home.
But the former Giants defensive end and current multi-faceted TV star insists he is not sweating it, just as he did not last year, when he missed the cut in his first year of eligibility and promptly announced it was time for dinner.
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"One of my friends was like, 'You mean you don't need any time to yourself?' " Strahan recalled. " 'No! Let's go get something to eat! I'm freakin' hungry!'
"For me, I don't worry about something I can't control. I just don't. I've learned that it's less stress in your life, and I'm trying to live a long time."
Still, given that he is working for the network telecasting the game, and that the game is being held within punting distance of his old Giants Stadium office, Strahan has been unable to avoid being asked about the Hall.
He conceded making it would be "awesome. And to do it in New York would be double-incredible. But it's not up to me."
It is up to a panel of 46 veteran journalists who will huddle Saturday and select up to five modern-day inductees. Bob Glauber of Newsday will make a presentation about Strahan to the group.
First-time finalists Walter Jones and Derrick Brooks seem like safe bets, and Marvin Harrison also is a solid candidate. But Strahan -- who finished his 15-year career with 1411/2 sacks -- is likely to get in, too, based on conversations with voters.
Last year, many considered him comparable to Warren Sapp, who did get in. But twice this week, Sapp told Newsday that he regards Strahan's resume as deficient compared with other finalists.
That, in turn, spawned a backlash, especially among Strahan's former teammates.
"With the guys they accepted last year, to me, he's head-and-shoulders above all of those guys," former defensive tackle Keith Hamilton said.
Asked about Sapp, Hamilton said, "He's a guy that when we were in the meeting room, coaches would say, 'We're running right at him.' . . . I respect the guys who play the run and the pass."
Strahan, 42, said he hopes Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning keeps playing regardless of Sunday's outcome, but that for him, there was nothing left to give after the 2007 season. His heart no longer was in it, and he did not want to risk cheating the game.
"The thing that matters the most to me is that I'm respected," he said. "I didn't play for titles. I didn't play for money. I mean, all that stuff is great, but I played for respect."
The Hall of Fame is the ultimate sign of historical respect, but Strahan said he has been too busy lately to think much about it unless asked.
"My life is beyond just being a football player and sacking quarterbacks," he said. "I did it and moved on. But if I make it to the Hall of Fame, that would be a great thrill."