Strahan says he'll leave

By playing hardball, the Giants may have alienated their best player to the point that the 2002 season may be Michael Strahan's last with the club.

Strahan met with GM Ernie Accorsi last week for about 30 minutes to get some things off his chest. However, he left the meeting more upset than when he entered and told Jay Glazer of CBS.Sportsline.com, "this season is going to be my last here."

 Accorsi and Strahan's agent, Tony Agnone, have been staring each other down, and neither has yet to blink. The next time Accorsi blinks he may be without the NFL's defensive player of the year.

The Giants desperately needed to re-do Strahan's contract to help their terrible cap situation (they're less than $1 million under), but opted instead to free up the necessary cap space by releasing a host of veterans, including LB Jessie Armstead, a move that hasn't exactly gone over well in the club's locker room.

New York offered Strahan a seven-year, $56 million pact, which included a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $17 million, but pulled it off the table once free agency began on March 1. They've yet to offer Strahan another deal, a fact that has him thinking he'll be suiting up elsewhere come 2003.

"I've loved my time with the Giants and the fans, but this season is going to be my last one here," Strahan said. "They are sacrificing this year. I don't want to be on a team for a lame-duck year. I don't feel like they want to be competitive. It's excuse after excuse about the cap. ... I truly believe they don't want me back there.

"I want to be on a team that does whatever it takes to get it done. I want to be on a team that feels like the organization will do whatever it takes to go to the Super Bowl. That's not what this team is doing. ... My goal had been to win a championship, work toward the Hall of Fame, go in as a New York Giant and have my jersey retired by the team. But I'm now resigned to the fact that it won't happen."

The Giants, of course, could slap the franchise tag on Strahan after the season, which would lock him up for another season. However, he clearly doesn't want to be restricted in that fashion.

At this point, it seems clear enough that Strahan's days in New York are numbered.


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