Should Michael Strahan be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, he’ll be the latest player to win a Super Bowl in his final game and move on to Canton. Former Broncos quarterback John Elway is the most recent player to ride off into the sunset with the Lombardi Trophy before getting a nod on his first ballot in 2004. Strahan will find out on Feb. 2 if he’s next in the exclusive line.
Pittsburgh’s Jerome Bettis (Super Bowl XL winner) will try to do the same in his third year of eligibility, but it could only be a matter of time before linebacker Ray Lewis, who announced he’ll retire at the end of the season, supplants them if his Ravens win the upcoming Super Bowl XLVII.
Five years ago Strahan was in the same position heading into the NFL’s premier game.
“I think for Ray, just as for me, I just kind of soaked up the entire situation,” Strahan told ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” Thursday morning. “I didn’t look at the magnitude of the game or anything like that. I just looked at it as, ‘I better just enjoy the experience’ because this is the last time he’ll experience that in a uniform. So I think that’s the way that he’s looking at it, and he’s fortunate enough to announce that he was going to retire weeks ago and still be in the hunt in the biggest game of the year.”
To close out his career, Strahan recorded three tackles, one sack and a pass deflection in the Giants’ 17-14 victory over New England in Super Bowl XLII.
“During the game, I wanted to put everything I had into it,” Strahan said. “I wanted to limp off the field, be carried off the field like Kellen Winslow back in the day. I wanted to be so exhausted because I had put all my energy into my final game just as I had tried to do throughout the rest of my career. And that’s what Ray’s going to do. He’s always done that. So Ray is going to play and put everything he has into it and that’s why he’s the future Hall-of-Famer and the great player that he is.”
On Feb. 2, the 44-member Selection Committee will hold its annual meeting at the site of the Super Bowl and the Class of 2013 will be announced during a live, nationally-televised show from media headquarters in New Orleans.
Strahan was asked what his reaction would be if his name is called.
“I’d be happy,” Strahan responded simply. “When you talk to guys who are in the Hall of Fame and who have Super Bowl rings, and you ask them which one would they choose, and everyone chooses the Hall of Fame. And I think that’s for a reason. I never played thinking I’m going to make it to the Hall of Fame. I played because I loved the competition, I just wanted to be the best at it, and I wanted to be respected. And this is the ultimate sign of respect for playing professional football. It would be overwhelming, to be honest with you,because it’s just kind of one of those things that creeps up on you. It’s still hard to believe I’ve been gone for five years, anyway.”
Strahan also spoke about the flipside of his first year of eligibility.
“Of course, I mean who wouldn’t be disappointed if you made it this far?” he said. “I mean I definitely would be disappointed, but at the same time, if I don’t make it in and somebody else does, that means they were just more deserving of it at that time. So I would love to make it in on the first ballot – that would be an incredible thing – but I understand how it works. And for me, that’s why I try my best not to get too excited because I don’t want to be too upset if I don’t make it in.”
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Tags: Hall of Fame, Michael Strahan
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