Michael Strahan put the finishing touch on his brilliant 15-year career in Arizona last February, as the future Hall of Fame defensive end helped the New York Giants to a stunning upset of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
It took another four months, however, for Strahan to decide he was done.
On Monday morning, Strahan awakened in the Southern California desert and concluded that he would retire, learned in a story first reported by foxsports.com. "Woke up and decided that I'm finished with that phase," Strahan told Y! Sports via email. "Time to move on. I've been thinking about it for awhile and didn't want to prolong the inevitable."
Like Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, who ended his career after leading the Denver Broncos to a victory in Super Bowl XXXIII nine years earlier, Strahan ends his career in storybook fashion. However, Strahan resisted the temptation to try to emulate Elway by winning a second consecutive ring after a career of continually coming up short.
"I just saw Elway this weekend (at a golf tourney in Palm Springs)," Strahan wrote, "and to win two in a row is a great feat – but too hard for me to imagine."
Strahan ends his career with 141½ regular season sacks, which is fifth on the NFL's all-time list. He was voted to seven Pro Bowls and was the NFL's defensive player of the year in 2001, when he set a single-season sack record with 22½. Two years later, he led the league with 18½ sacks.
In New York's 17-14 victory over the Pats in the Super Bowl, Strahan keyed a ferocious pass rush that tormented Tom Brady all game. Strahan had a sack, two quarterback hurries, four hits on Brady and a pass defensed.
The personable and intelligent Strahan is likely to be courted as a broadcaster by numerous networks.