Strahan ends holdout after incurring $514K in fines

Updated: September 1, 2007, 5:40 AM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

After 24 hours of soul-searching and a conversation with general manager Jerry Reese, seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan has decided to end his holdout and report to the New York Giants.

Clayton: Back In Blue

Michael Strahan decided to end his holdout a week later than expected because he felt it was time to play some football.

Even though he was training hard in Los Angeles, Strahan couldn't bare the thoughts of coming to New York for a fourth pre-season game. If forecasts are true and the Giants face the possibility of a nine- or 10-loss season, it's hard for a player with Strahan's energy to gather the psyche to play for the team. Players deal with pain, and it's hard to focus on a game if there is doubts about a team's chances of winning.

The Giants need Strahan probably more than he needs them. He provides a fire and personality to that team. Without him, they don't have a true personality.

Strahan leads by example. He makes life on defense fun. He's a character and he's a great player.

This may not be the best of seasons for the Giants. But it wouldn't be the same without Strahan. It was time for him to end his holdout.

•  Garrard to be starting QB

-- John Clayton, senior NFL writer

Strahan had been training in Los Angeles for weeks but had not decided whether to continue his career with the Giants until late Friday afternoon.

"He's coming back because he wants to keep playing," his agent, Tony Agnone, told the New York Daily News.

Strahan missed 36 days of training camp at a fine of $14,288 a day. To allow for his return, the Giants and Strahan reached a settlement in which the total fine was reduced from $514,368, but the amount he owed was still considered substantial.

Early in the week, it appeared retirement was more of an option, and Strahan had hoped to make a decision by Monday. Reese described the talks with Strahan as "constructive and positive."

During his holdout, Strahan had met with ownership and talked to teammates and friends. He has one week to prepare for the regular season opener Sept. 9 at Dallas.

Speaking to reporters at camp on Friday, Giants coach Tom Coughlin maintained the approach that Strahan was not going to play.

"I have to, I have to," Coughlin said. "That's been the way, not by choice, by necessity. Again, we'll work with the guys that are here."

Strahan is scheduled to make $4 million this season. His 132½ sacks are tops among active players. He set an NFL single-season record with 22½ sacks in 2001.

Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer