Michael Strahan flexes his muscles after his sack of the...

Michael Strahan flexes his muscles after his sack of the 49ers' Trent Dilfer on Oct. 21, 2007. Credit: Newsday/David L. Pokress

Most retired players yearn for one last opportunity to hear the cheers of the fans.

Michael Strahan is bracing for a different reception when the Giants retire his number 92 jersey on Sunday.

Because of the pitiful state of the current team and an opponent that resides a little more than an hour down the Jersey Turnpike, MetLife Stadium figures to be swarming with Eagles fans this weekend. And Eagles fans have never been kind to Strahan.

But Strahan said it’s fine if he is booed during his halftime ceremony. In fact, he said, it would be an appropriate honor.

"The Giants could retire my jersey IN Philly and that wouldn’t bother me," he said on a conference call Wednesday. "I’m used to Eagles fans. It’s very fitting to have this done against the Eagles. But if there are Eagles fans there booing, that’s what I want them to do. If they’re not booing that means I wasn’t very good at my job. If any team knows I was, it’s the Eagles. The most sacks I had of any quarterback on any team is theirs, so if they boo it’s an honor.

"I always loved playing the Philadelphia Eagles," he added. "They were always good for a few sacks a game."

Strahan said he was surprised it took the Giants so long to retire his number (at least ceremonially since no player has been issued it since his retirement after the 2007 season so it has been unofficially retired since then).

"I would have honestly expected it a long time ago," he said. "I’ve been in the [Pro Football] Hall of Fame for seven years now and all the things I did there with the Giants, I would have expected it a little bit sooner. But it’s still an honor. Things come in the time they’re meant to come and not at the time in which you want them to come sometimes. That’s the way I look at it. I don’t want it to look like I’m ungrateful and I’m not honored because I truly am. But I probably would have expected it to come a little bit sooner than it did, yes."

Strahan said he has made a conscious decision to distance himself from the current team, but he does meet up with players such as Daniel Jones and Sterling Shepard for offseason golf outings and insisted he is available to the present crop of players should they need anything.

Mostly, though, he’s a fan of the Giants. Which, of late, means he is not a happy fan of the Giants.

"Do I watch every game as if I am still playing and the biggest fan of the Giants? Absolutely," he said. "Do I get frustrated like every other fan out there? Absolutely. Do I look at it and think I could get off my couch sometimes and go play and help the team? Absolutely."

He bemoaned the losing that has occurred over the past decade.

"We need to find a way to get back to where we were, to be competitive," he said. "I just want the team to understand that they’re not far off. They’re really not far off. But at the same time, when you are losing, don’t look around and blame anybody. Don’t wait for somebody to rescue you. Because no one feels sorry for you in this league when you are losing. Nobody is going to come rescue you. You have to go to work and rescue yourself."

If Strahan is the only one booed at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, that would be a step toward that direction.

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