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Giants DE Strahan back on practice field

Coming off a season-ending chest injury, Michael Strahan wasn't supposed to be doing much on the opening day of the New York Giants' minicamp.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (June 1, 2005) -- Coming off a season-ending chest injury, Michael Strahan wasn't supposed to be doing much on the opening day of the New York Giants' minicamp.

"Limited" was the word the team used to describe his status.

Strahan didn't act that way, though. The 33-year-old defensive end hugged guard Jason Whittle early in the morning workout and wrapped up punter Jeff Feagles later on.

"I feel great," Strahan said between practices. "I am having no trouble, nothing hurts. I'm in one piece. It's fine."

Strahan's status for this season has been a major question mark since the six-time Pro Bowl selection tore a pectoral muscle on his right side against the Chicago Bears in November, sidelining him for the season. He had surgery to repair the injury.

After six months of rehabilitation, Strahan said he has full range of motion again and is lifting as much weight as he did before the injury.

There is no doubt in his mind he will be able to perform as well as he did.

"If I were a guy who relies on speed and I blew out my knee, I think I would be a little worried," said Strahan, who holds the NFL record for sacks in a season and has more career sacks (118) than any active player. "If I were a guy who relied on certain things and they were taken away, I would be worried.

"But to me, it's more like a chess match," Strahan added. "It's a thinking game more so than a physical game. The physical part is back. If I were still worried about that, I would be wary. But since I know that part is back and I am not having any trouble with that, it's full steam ahead."

Strahan had been one of the NFL's ironmen. Before last season, he had not missed a game since 1995.

"I have one injury and somebody wants to say he can't play any more, and we need to cut money," Strahan said. "Cut money! Cut money! That is part of the business. I understand that. I know I can't play forever. As a player you like to go out on your own terms, but that's not always the case. Hopefully, for me, that will be the case."

Coach Tom Coughlin said Strahan looked good.

"He moves very well, very gracefully," Coughlin said. "He seems to be doing well recovering from his injury. And that is something that I will have to gauge as we go along here, whether he gets sore or how he feels after he has some contact."

Strahan said the hardest part of this minicamp was watching clips from last season, particularly the ones where he was not playing.

However, he believes the Giants, who lost eight of their last nine games last season, will be a better team this season with the recent signings of linebacker Antonio Pierce, offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie, receiver Plaxico Burress and kicker Jay Feely.

"Last year we were heading toward the playoffs (5-2) and I don't think we are as talented as we are this year," Strahan said. "So definitely we're talented enough to be a playoff team."

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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