Sapp Fires Back At Giants DE Strahan

August 6 - New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan broke the single-season sack record held by Mark Gastineau when he sacked Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre in the last regular season game of 2001. Tampa Bay's Pro Bowl defensive tackle said last week that the record should have an "asterisk" by it, and Strahan later responded by calling Sapp a "jackass". On Tuesday afternoon, Sapp fired back at Strahan.

New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan broke Mark Gastineau's single-season sack record on the last game of the 2001 regular season when he ran into the Packer backfield untouched and sacked Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre, which allowed him to break Gastineau's sack record by a half of a sack.

Fans, media and even players have since referred to the record as illegitimate, citing Favre allegedly audibled into a play at the end of the game, which allowed Strahan to sack Green Bay's starting quarterback and break the record.

Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp was one of the people that suggested Strahan's sack record should have an "asterisk" by it. Strahan recently responded to Sapp's comment through a local newspaper.

"Warren Sapp is a jackass," Strahan said last week from training camp in Albany, New York. "And I hope he reads that. He'll see me to my face and he'll be nice, but Warren is a jackass. So get out of the first round of the playoffs, then you can talk to me."

Strahan called Sapp out again on Monday night, when he implied Sapp had a weight problem in a sideline interview with Monday Night Football's Melissa Stark.

After a few days of silence and yet another comment from Strahan, No. 99 fired back at Strahan on Tuesday afternoon.

"The man is 1,500 miles away from me," Sapp said of Strahan on Tuesday afternoon. "He didn't make the playoffs (last year), but he keeps telling me I have to get out of the first-round? That's a beautiful thing when someone is ranting and rambling about nothing. (Strahan) doesn't really have a good train of thought and it flows, (so) I normally don't respond to it. Telling me I've been talking about getting to a Super Bowl for eight years, (I) haven't been been in the league (for that long), but this is my eight one. I never thought about a Super Bowl when I was with Sam (Wyche). (I) didn't believe in the defense Monte (Kiffin) and Tony (Dungy) until the eight week of 96'. I think the first time I said Super Bowl was in 98'. So that would be four years. The man can't count, nor see what a sack is. So what is the problem?"

Sapp, who said he would break Gastineau's record during training camp last season, finished with only six sacks.

"Stop talking and maybe just do it and worry about what he's got going on with his team - before I pull out the film of those guys playing the Eagles in the playoffs where he shut it down on national TV," Strahan told a newspaper about Sapp's performance against the Eagles in a playoff game last year. I'm sick of a guy who ain't even the best defensive tackle in the league talking about the best defensive end in the league."

Sapp was quick to point out the fact he battled through a torn rotator cuff injury last season, which he claims prevented both he and his team from achieving their goals in 2001.

"You know I had a torn rotator cuff?" Sapp asked the media.

"I wanted to slit my wrist (last season). I couldn't help my ball club. I couldn't push off a scrub lineman, let alone talking about the ones that play pretty good."

As for Strahan calling Sapp a "jackass", Tampa Bay's five time Pro Bowler didn't seem to be bothered.

"I've been called worse," said Sapp.

While Sapp has entered a war of words with Strahan, he told the media he had no beef with Strahan's first 211/2 sacks. It's the last one Sapp has a problem with.

"Unbelievable," Sapp said Strahan's 2001 season. "He played like a man. But that last one doesn't count, and he has to admit that."

Favre has denied he gift-wrapped the sack for Strahan, but Sapp begs to differ.

"This (Strahan) is a man that arguing about a sack on belly-weak," Sapp said. "Please. If I told every D-lineman in the world that I will put you in the game, you are down (9) with two minutes on the clock with no timeouts, nobody wants to go in. There is no possibility of getting a sack. The game is over. People kneel the ball down. They run the ball. It's a 9-on-7 drill. Where's the dilemma here? Ask (Packers head coach) Mike Sherman what play he called. Please. Do that for me. When you come back with that one, that will end this discussion. That man called belly-weak. You don't get a sack on belly-weak. Who was the intended receiver? You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know this. I'm from Florida, and Cap Canaveral is right around the corner from my home. But I don't build rockets, and I don't tell them how to fly. But I know what belly-weak looks like, and I know what a sack looks like. Thank you."

Favre and Sapp built a mutual respect for each other from playing each other at least twice a season in the NFC Central Division. Sapp suspected Favre might let Strahan have the sack, and that's why he called him before the Giants-Packers game.

"That's what hurt me so much -- it was my man who gave it to him," Sapp said of Favre. "The hardest man in the league to put on the ground. Not only did they run that bootleg once, not twice, but four times. They ran it the first play of the game. I watched the whole thing. And anybody else that watched it. This is not a debate. This is a man that wants something given to him, and they gave it to him. So have it. Run with it.

I haven't talked to him (Favre) (since Strahan broke the record). I called him on his cell phone before that game and told him not to give it (the sack) to him. But I'll see him -- he's on the schedule."

Sapp also questioned the integrity of the National Football League for celebrating Strahan's controversial feat.

"It's supposed to be for the league, and the worst part about it is they dragged Gastineau to watch this travesty," said Sapp. "They made him walk on the field and congratulate this man. That's the worst part about it is that the league was into it. Come on. They make judgement calls all the time. The tuck and duck, the this and that or whatever it is. Come on. Call Mike Sherman, Mike Sherman called Belly-weak. It's called belly-weak. It's not a sack."


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