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Giants GM has constructive talks with Strahan

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan had constructive talks with the New York Giants twice in the past 24 hours, and he expects to make a decision soon on whether to retire or play.

General manager Jerry Reese described the talks on Monday night and Tuesday morning as "constructive and positive," the team said in an e-mail to the media Tuesday afternoon.

Reese said Tuesday morning's talk ended with Strahan telling him he expects to arrive at a decision about whether to continue playing within two days.

Tony Agnone, Strahan's agent, did not immediately return an e-mail from The Associated Press seeking comment.

If the 35-year-old Strahan decides to play, he will have missed the entire preseason and will only have one week to prepare for the Giants' season opener at Dallas on Sept. 9. The Giants (1-2) play their final preseason game on Thursday night in Foxborough, Mass. against the New England Patriots.

Strahan's holdout and possible retirement has been the overriding story since the Giants players reported to training camp at the University at Albany on July 27. His holdout hit its 33rd day on Tuesday, and he has been fined $14,288 daily.

His fine total is $471,504.

While there were initial reports that Strahan wanted to renegotiate the contract that will pay him $4 million this season, he denied in an open letter to Giants fans on Aug. 5 that money had anything to do with his decision to stay away.

"When an athlete like myself - who does what I do for a living -- starts having doubts, then it's time to take a step back and seriously consider my future," Strahan said in the letter that was distributed via e-mail by Agnone.

"Anyone who plays in the NFL with doubts or second guessing is not only putting themselves at risk, but their teammates also," Strahan added. "I will never do that."

Strahan's 132½ sacks are tops among active players, and he set an NFL single-season record with 22½ sacks in 2001.

Many teammates have felt for weeks that Strahan will play this season.

Pro Bowl middle linebacker Antonio Pierce walked out of the locker room minutes before Reese announced that he had talked to Strahan and saw reporters waiting in the tunnel under Giants Stadium. Pierce also saw a luxury automobile from a car service.

"You guys waiting for Strahan?" Pierce quipped before he walked away laughing.

Whatever Strahan decides, the Giants discovered in training camp that they have two other solid defensive ends in one-time Pro Bowler Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, who like Strahan missed part of last season with a Lisfranc foot injury.

Tuck had four tackles, a sack and a pressure in the 20-12 loss to the Jets on Saturday.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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