Giant headache

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo! Sports

NFL coaches have spent years trying to figure out how to stop Michael Strahan from recording another sack. Who knew the secret just might have been a curly haired suburban mother of twins?

Of course as Jean Strahan, the former Mrs. Michael Strahan, said in the divorce papers, the issue didn't begin with her but when her husband allegedly had relations, shall we say, outside the covenant of their marriage. And that's among other transgressions.

We'd leave this to the tabloids and gossip pages except the off-field life of the NFL's active sack leader might derail the New York Giants' season before it even begins.

Strahan hasn't shown up for Giants camp in Albany, N.Y. and there is little doubt he wants more money to play this season. Actually, he doesn't just want it, he darn well needs it.

Strahan may be set to make $4 million this year – although his daily $14,288 fine for missing camp is slowly cutting into that – but due to Jean Strahan's remarkable victory in divorce court earlier this year, that probably isn't enough.

Michael got taken to the cleaners to the tune of $15.3 million in the divorce (New York Daily News headline: "Wife: 15,000,000, Strahan: 0"). He also had to vacate the couple's 1906 Montclair, N.J. mansion, the one with the 22,000-square feet, 12 bedrooms, seven baths and a garage big enough for 20 cars.

And then there is the nearly $18,000 per month in child support, which will go on long after Strahan, 35, can no longer earn NFL millions. He also was ordered to pay $311,000 in back child support. Plus he owes 91 percent of his kids' private school tuition, payments that won't end until they get out of college in about 2026.

The ruling was even more than Jean actually sought for the less than six years of marriage. The judge wound up giving up more than half of Michael's estimated $22 million of net worth.

Here's the amazing part: they actually had a pre-nuptial agreement. That thing was so bad that it was Michael, not Jean, who tried to get it invalidated. Of course, Michael appealed the ruling so Jean has yet to get much of anything, meaning she is trying to sell the mansion (for over $3 million) and even had a yard sale to hawk their belongings.

Regardless, Michael, after that soaking, is understandably looking for more cash in what may be his last season anyway. He's threatened retirement. The problem is he has no bargaining power here. The Giants would be idiots to renegotiate a deal with a guy who they know is in a financial situation that he virtually has to play this season.

"He is under contract and I think you all know what our position is on that," co-owner John Mara told reporters Wednesday, day six of Strahan's holdout.

Four million may not be enough, but it's more than he's making doing anything else. And understand that once Strahan is done playing, he's going to have to find himself a j-o-b.

No, Strahan isn't going hungry. He still, according to court documents, has over $6 million in net worth. For the sake of argument, if that was all liquid he could invest it – even at the corner bank – and get a decent return of four percent annually. That's around $240,000 in year one. This, needless to say, is a figure 90-something percent of Americans would gladly accept as an annual salary.

Except Strahan lives like less than one percent of America, his burn rate in a given month is slightly higher than yours and mine (you don't have a 20-car garage if you just drive an Impala).

Financially, it doesn't seem possible for him to maintain his pre-divorce lifestyle after he retires. After all, he owes $214,745 annually in child support alone which is why the aforementioned conservative, set-for-life investment plan can't work.

Strahan has somewhat of a gregarious personality (he's like John Salley, people think he's funny even if he never actually is) so he's probably suited for some kind of TV work. But he isn't getting one of those monster deals with NBC, like the polished Tiki Barber.

Strahan's rep took a beating in the divorce. It was alleged he ditched his wife and twin 2-year-old daughters to jet off with his mistresses, one he supposedly called "Cupcake." Then there was the time, Jean alleged, he secretly videotaped her sister as she undressed only to later allegedly deposit $30,000 in her bank account.

And, maybe most damaging to female viewers, there was the rebuke by the judge for not remembering Jean's birthday or their wedding anniversary. Every man knows that's tough to overcome.

The Huxtables, this family wasn't. As a result of all the dirty laundry, he's probably looking at a gig with "The Best Damn Sports Show" which doesn't quite pay as well as he'd like.

At this point, control freak Tom Coughlin has to be beside himself, pacing around Albany cursing bad pre-nups, lamenting his pass rush and lecturing Eli Manning to stay single forever, or at least until Coughlin's tenure ends.

"I'm going to Disney World!" Jean Strahan laughed outside divorce court in January.

At this rate, she won't run into any Giants down there after the Super Bowl.

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