Say what? What people are saying about Strahan's retirement

What people were saying about Michael Strahan, who officially announced his retirement on Tuesday:

Giants president John Mara:

On reaction to hearing of Strahan's retiremnet: "We know he can still play at a high level, so there was some disappointment."

On what Strahan meant to Giants organization: "He has been so important to us. There is no way we win the Super Bowl last year without him. In fact, I would say we probably don't even make the playoffs without him. Not only because of his play on the field, but what he did for us in the locker room, the leadership he provided, the way he dealt with the younger players and the example that he set. Those are going to be big shoes to fill."

On where Strahan ranks among the all-time great Giants players: "I'll leave that for you guys to argue about. He's arguably the best defensive lineman we've ever had here. He's one of the great leaders we've ever had here. You can argue all you want whether he or L.T. is better -– I'll leave that for the media."

Giants chairman and co-owner Steve Tisch:

"Every other offense in the NFL got a gift today. The Giants can say thanks for a job well done to a player who personifies our franchise. Michael Strahan has been the heart and soul of the New York Giants. He was Big Blue his entire 15-year NFL career. His big smile was the face of our team. Michael's passion for the game was contagious and fierce. His leadership was as towering in the locker room as on the field. His talent was exceeded only by his effort. His stats speak for themselves. But as much as we'll miss all those sacks next year, what we will miss more is a man who is a great friend and teammate, who exemplifies the best in our sport. We wish him happiness in whatever he chooses to do next and are so happy that he gets to do it with a Super Bowl ring on his finger and the Hall of Fame in his future."

Giants general manager Jerry Reese

"You know what stands out the most about Michael Strahan from my 14 years -- I wasn't here when he was drafted, but for my 14 years to this past season -- just to see the smile on his face. I am just so happy to see him smile. He had so much fun this past season and you can see it on his face. That was encouraging and I was very happy for him to see him have fun."

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin:

On his relationship with Strahan: "Well, because I have always been impressed with, first of all, the sincerity that I thought Michael always brought to the table. He was honest. If he didn't like something, he would come in and sit down and tell me about it and that is all I ever asked. His approach to the way that he played the game… no one would ever have a problem with that. It is because of his love of the game and it transcended practice, how he was in the locker room, he was obviously a very gregarious young man and a consummate prankster and 'have a good time with his teammates' kind of a guy, but he can take it. A lot of those people that are that quality of player, they may enjoy dishing it out, but they don't enjoy taking those shots back, but this guy did and even from the younger guys, which always was impressive to me."

On how to fill the void left by Strahan: "Well, the age old question. It comes time for one individual, regardless of his greatness, to move on and someone else has to come along. Probably the same way that he expressed it, Michael expressed it, at the podium was that it is time for me to move on and for some of these younger guys to express themselves not only for their quality of their play, but also as leaders in the locker room. Now that I am out of the way, what I have said will take place."

On initial reaction to retirement announcement: "Well I found out right at the end of our last OTA and you are stunned at first, no doubt, because you are hoping it is the other way. I would be less than honest if I didn't say that, but that having been said and then reflecting on it and reflecting on, for example, what I would say today, you are not going to present something like this in some kind of disappointment or sadness. It is his day, he earned the right to make that decision, you have to celebrate the great player that he was, and then know that he has made his mark on this team and there are a lot of these young men that are very much aware of the way that he conducted himself, played the game, and practiced the game."

Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo:

"I'll always be totally indebted to Michael for what he did last season, the leadership he brought. As a first-year coordinator I was able to lean on him in times when we needed it. He was always there and he always responded positively. He is a tremendous leader, a high-character, high-integrity person. I could always pull him aside and say, 'Mike, I need you to do this for me today,' and he would always reply, 'No problem.' I remember in practice in Arizona before the Super Bowl, I wanted to emphasize that all the players needed to look over to me for the signal and I remember tapping Mike and saying the next play have all the guys look over, help me out on that, and when that next play came, he had all 11 guys paying attention to me.

"I wish him nothing but the best in his retirement. I will sorely miss him, not only on the field, but off the field and all the interaction that we had. I will forever be grateful for having worked with a future Hall of Famer. That's pretty special, because you don't often get to do that in this league.

"Michael is a left end, which means he goes against the best offensive lineman on every team. Yet, he was able to excel. He had a unique ability to study offensive linemen, quarterbacks and even running backs and get little tips on players that helped him tremendously, and he'd share those with the other defensive linemen. He was the consummate pro. I was always impressed at the tremendous strength he had for a guy who wasn't 290 pounds. He had tremendous leverage and the strength he had from the waist down made him a great player. You go back and look at the film from last year, there were times when it might not have stood out to the untrained eye what he was doing for us. But he affected most every play, because of who he is and what he brings to the team. Michael is a legendary defensive end in this league at a time when there's an emphasis on offensive tackles playing over there. I would be hard-pressed to find any right now that are better. To go into the playoffs and play games 17, 18, 19 and 20 on the season and still be on the rise is extraordinary. I'll never forget that."

Giants defensive line coach Mike Waufle:

"I thought Michael Strahan was one of the most complete players in the National Football League as far as defensive line play was concerned. He was excellent against the run and he was an excellent pass rusher. Michael was also an emotional leader for our team who helped guide us to a world championship. You couldn't ask for a more storybook ending to a beautiful career as a New York Giant, to go out as a world champion and be at the top of your game and play as well as he did in his 15th year.

"We had a special relationship, a very personal relationship, so it's like losing a family member. To be able to have him around every day was a pleasure. We were the old guys in the room, so we used to feed off of each other and hang out together. He's going to be dearly missed. But we wish him well and he'll do great with whatever he decides to do."

Giants quarterback Eli Manning:

"He will be missed. He is a tremendous leader of this team. He has a great attitude, a great work ethic. He did a lot for the young players in teaching them how to act, how to perform, how to practice, how to prepare, how to play."

Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora:

"I love the guy. Flat out, I love the guy. He is probably the best Giant ever in my opinion and so I am happy for him, sad for myself. But I am happy for him."

Former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi:

"I've been with six Hall of Famers in my career. Michael will be the seventh. I never saw a great pass rusher play the run as well as he did, and I would have to say he's the greatest defensive player I have ever been associated with. And what a perfect way to end his career, to play a great game in the ultimate victory."

Carolina Panthers head coach and former Giants defensive coordinator John Fox:

"I had the pleasure of seeing Michael Strahan evolve from a young pro into a great defensive lineman. That development was the result of dedicated hard work combined with his natural physical gifts. Being a special player was important to Michael and he was a consummate professional who set an example for his teammates every day as well as being a leader on Sundays. He earned every honor he achieved and will be remembered as one of the great defensive linemen in the history of the National Football League. It was a privilege to be associated with him."

Former Giant and teammate Jessie Armstead:

"Mike always said he wanted to go out on top and after last year, know one can question that. It is a good day for Mike, but it is a sad day for the fans and the Giants organization. He was one of the best."

Former Giants defensive line coach Denny Marcin:

"I tell people to this day about Strahan. In the seven years that I had him, the one thing you knew is that you could always count on him. I think in seven years he only missed two practices. He was always willing to work with the younger players, he stayed afterwards for extra work. He was a true professional."

Former Giants head coach Dan Reeves:

"Of course, Michael Strahan is one of the finest players I have coached defensively. The thing that I will always remember is how unselfish Michael was when we asked him to move from the right end to the left end position. His statement to me was, 'Coach, if you think that is best for our football team, I will glad to do it.' That to me was what kind of unselfish player Michael Strahan was, and that was what made him the great player he was for 15 years. I am sorry to see him go, because I love to watch him play. He brings a tremendous amount of enthusiasm to the game and we are going to miss Michael Strahan."

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb:

On what made Strahan so good: "I think a lot of was his enthusiasm for the game. He had that "dog" in him. He loved what he did. In the last six or eight years, he was among the tops in the game in terms of quarterback sacks. Year in and year out, you knew what you were going to get from him. He worked hard. When you watch guys like Reggie White and Bruce Smith, he's in that class. He's about the same size as those guys and he's a guy you have to game plan for. It's not like he took a year off. Every year, he was consistent."

On whether or not he will miss Strahan: "I'm not going to miss him. There are a couple more guys over there on their line and we're waiting on their retirement, but he's a great guy who decided to leave the game. He won't be far away."

Eagles tackle Jon Runyan

On if there is a special feeling about seeing a guy like that step away: "Not really. Now I have to spend more time studying other people because it's not something that I'm familiar with so technically it makes my job harder."

On if it will be strange not facing Strahan twice a year: "No. I think the strange part is that we have played against each other so many times. That's the odd part of the whole thing, so now we are getting back to the norm."

On what direction Strahan was leaning when they last spoke 3-4 weeks ago: "You don't know. You think about a situation where the guy exits winning a Super Bowl -— going out on top —- if you could write a book, that's the way you'd want to end it."

On whether Strahan was his most formable opponent: "Yeah. Consistently playing against him, I'd put him up there with Reggie White. I only played against Reggie once, but I'd put him right up there with him."

On what made Strahan that great: "His ability to basically play the game. He'll tell you he is not the fastest guy in the world but he is very smart. He knows how to play the game and if you make a mistake, he is going to take advantage of it. He is very good at that, just being patient, waiting for his time to come. When he has to make a play he can. If he is put in the right situation and knows the situation, studying people, knowing their tendencies, knowing if you are leaning one way, he is very smart in that way and that's why he has been good enough to play for so long."

On what he remembers going through clips with Strahan at NFL Films recently: "I remember all the bad stuff and he remembers all the times he beat me. I don't remember all the other stuff. We pretty much remember the same plays."

On if it was a lopsided contest playing against Strahan: "I make that point all the time, you know. If he runs around for 60 plays and gets one sack he had a good day, if I give up one sack I had a bad day. One play—there is a lot more that goes into a game than that."

On the atmosphere when the two saw each other: "It was like seeing a friend anywhere. You have to have the ability to turn it on and turn it off on and off the field because you can't live like that. You can't live like a crazy man running around the field hitting people all the time. That's what makes it fun because you can sit down and talk to a guy like that because you respect each other professionally and you just go about your business."

On one of his funniest memories with Strahan: "I think we had a lot of fun. There was a play last year where I think Thomas got up underneath him and put him on his back. I actually picked him up in the middle of the play. Thomas put him on his back and you can hear it, I think I was actually miked up that game, and you can hear it I was like 'Oh, (expletive).' And I pick him up and he starts running around, Donovan is still scrambling with the ball. We had a good laugh about that even on the field and afterwards. It was just one of those things where it would have been amazing if he would have run around and got a sack after that. I would have never lived that one down."

On whether Strahan retiring weakens the Giants: "There is always someone there. Now he is giving someone else an opportunity. Whether someone steps up and takes that opportunity you won't know for months now. So at first you are going to wonder if it's going to weaken them but you don't know about the guy waiting there or who is going to step up and do something because ... look at Jason Tuck stepping up. Especially with Umenyiora on the other side, you can't concentrate on one guy. They have enough weapons out there that when I guy gets an opportunity he can make some plays."

On if he will miss competing with Strahan: "I'm sure you will hear more from him now that he is not playing."

Redskins tackle Jon Jansen

On what made Michael Strahan such a difficult matchup: "The thing that Mike did well was that he understood the game of football. He wasn't just out there chasing the ball. He was setting you up for the next move, the third and long, or the end of the game when it mattered most. You always had to be smart against him, and he was a guy that could play the run or pass at the same time."

On whether he is convinced that Strahan won't be returning: "I'll be convinced at halftime of the Thursday night football game if he's not out there."

On how much he enjoyed the battles with Strahan: "I enjoyed them a lot, and if he's not returning, the game of football will be different without him. He was a personality in New York, and a terrific player that made plays."

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