Unlike Favre, Strahan knows its time to hang up his cleats

Sep 2, 2008 7:01 PM

Burnt Offerings by Stan Bergstein | Wives and mistresses have come and gone, at huge expense, for the former New York Giant Michael Strahan. I do not plan to write about them, however, not even the $15.3 million plus child support a judge awarded not too long ago to his red-haired ex-wife Jean after their stormy divorce.

Not writing about those things is part of my non-intervention code, particularly when they involve a guy 6-foot-5 who weighs 250 and for 15 years delighted in putting large grass stains on the pants of quarterbacks in the National Football League by smashing them bodily to the ground in stadiums from coast to coast.

So I will forego the juicy details of the tabloid press, and talk briefly about his seven Pro Bowl appearances and six All Pro selections, his record 141.5 sacks and 854 NFL tackles, about his candor, and about his new career.

When youíre as big and strong as he is, and as savage at times as well, treading softly in writing about him can be a prudent course that can lead to survival.

Instead, Iíll write about how admirable I think the guy is for passing up untold millions from the New York Giants, who were trying to lure him from retirement, and instead become a sportscaster.

Strahan will be 37 years old in November, still a crusher, but also smart enough to take $2.7 million from Fox for sitting around schmoozing with Jimmy Johnson, Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long. His presence will make that happy team even stronger, a bunch of knowledgeable bar buddies having fun and imparting their expertise.

Unlike another aging star, Green Bayís beloved Bret Favre, who could not resist the fire of competition and now toils for the New York Jets, Strahan knew it was time to call it quits.

Even Herculean bodies ultimately can absorb only so much punishment their possessors are called on to bear, and Strahan knew after getting the cherished Super Bowl ring that had escaped him through 14 seasons with the Giants that it was a perfect time to leave.

When the Giants tried to lure him back after losing his opposite number, Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora, for this fallís season, Strahan knew he would enjoy telling tales with the guys rather than take the weekly pounding involved in inflicting punishment on others.

"I enjoy Foxís fun approach," he said. "The camaraderie between Terry, Howie and Jimmy is obvious. They have as much fun together off the set as they do on air talking football. I knew this would be the perfect place for me. Itís great having nobody put a finger on me. You really put yourself though an awful lot in this league, more than people realize."

So everybody goes home happy, except the Giants. Michael says he loves his life now; his ex Jean is smiling broadly with her $15.3 million, which she insists was Strahanís lawyersí idea of a pre-nuptial agreement, not hers, and that they demanded she sign it in 1999 the night before she and Michael were married; and Fox knows it made a smart move.

Strahan is a bold talker, akin to Charles Barkley, and he will not be a retiring figure even among the assertive crew that he joins.

Unlike older boxers who get their heads addled and donít know when to quit, or who simply run out of money that their managers and lifestyle demand, Strahan is not likely to ever need benefits.

Television pays huge money to its star practitioners, and Strahan is likely to become one quickly.

He has an agent, of course, but he should be able to handle him, his ex-wife, child support for his two girls with her and for a daughter and son from an earlier wife who he brought over from Germany and ensconced in a comfortable home and then left, and still have enough to feed and clothe his trimmed down frame.

He will, that is, if he can escape the lures and snares of future wives and girl friends, including his ravishing and intriguing pal Nicole (Cupcake) DíOliveira.

But we said we wouldnít talk about that, didnít we? So youíre on your own from here.