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Mike Strahan Conf Call Transcript - 10/8/03

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**Q: How's your toe?

MS:** Great.

**Q: No problems at all?

MS:** Nothing whatsoever.

**Q: Does that prove that you don't really need preseason?

MS:** No. Not at all. The way my body felt after the first two games, I wished that I had at least two preseason games. But now I feel good. I don't think you need four, but I definitely would have done well and been fine with two.

**Q: You are going up this week against Tom Ashworth. I am wondering, you probably have a history with a number of players in this league having been a veteran. Is it sometimes difficult to go against a guy who you have never actually banged in to before?

MS:** In that case, I don't know if I am getting Ashworth or [Adrian] Klemm. So for me the difficult part of that is that I have to study for two guys. Whenever you are not familiar with a guy and you haven't played him, you just have to study for him. You have to trust what you see and you have to trust what you know you can do. The biggest thing is you have to be able to make adjustments during the game. Whenever you are a familiar with the guy, you know what your game plan pretty much is going to be. And I actually keep notes on guys. If I play a guy again, I just flip back and look at the notes. With these guys, it's the first time. It's like kissing a girl for the first time. You are nervous and you hope it goes well. You never know how far it is going to go.

**Q: You talk about being nervous; obviously these guys are probably just as nervous about facing you. Do you feed off of guys who aren't as reputable? Do you look at it like fresh meat?

MS:** No, because those are always the guys who do their best against you. Those are the guys who a lot of guys fall asleep on, don't study for, don't expect to play well because you are suppose to be something that's great. But I think whenever you fall into that trap, you are going to get beat. Personally, me, I operate under the fear that this is the game where this guy is going to play lights out. This guy could possibly be a All-Pro. Who knows? Just give it some time. I don't want to make a guy look like an All-Pro against me, so that's my motivation to go out there and prepare and try to practice hard and to be ready for the game. You never know what they are going to throw at you. Charlie Weis is a great coordinator. Bill Belichick is a great head coach, and I know they are going to have something in store for us.

**Q: You talk about falling into a trap, if you look to Belichick and some of the players you are going to have an eight sack game with some of the compliments they were throwing at you today. I'm sure you have heard that over the course of your career…

MS:** They are trying to sucker me. They are trying to butter me up. My wife does the same thing when she wants something that is expensive. And that never works, so it's not working.

**Q: When were you able to turn that off? Did you ever let that go to your head and figure out…

MS:** Yeah. You are getting a lot of the attention. You make the Pro Bowl. You are feeling great. You are hearing how good you are. Of course it would get to your head, but then reality sets in when you go out there, you don't prepare yourself and don't play as well as you expect in some games. So for me, at this stage in my career, I know every week is a challenge. I can't afford to go out there and not be mentally prepared to play because with something physical, I can't do what I use to, so I have to make up for it in the mental aspect. The only way to do that is to study. I think we have a healthy respect for each other, and I'm not just talking about myself, I am talking about the two teams. We came out there and scrimmaged those guys the year that they went to the Super Bowl, and I have been in the Pro Bowl with quite a few of them and know quite a few of them. I have all the respect in the world for them and also Coach Belichick.

**Q: Has it been tougher for you the last two seasons, after the sack record? Do you feel teams are really singling you out?

MS:** Yeah. But that's to be expected. It's a compliment. For me to get the sack record and then come back the next year and no one ever double teams me or triple teams me or pays attention to me, that's when you feel like, 'Okay, the respect level still isn't there.' But I think that I have proven what I can do and at this point, I'm not worried about sacks. I'm worried about winning. It's so funny; on the year I had 9.5 sacks we go to the Super Bowl. The next year I had 22.5 sacks, and we sit at home and watch somebody else go. So sacks don't necessarily correlate. Last year 11 sacks and we are in the playoffs. Sacks don't necessarily correlate into a successful team. And right now, the personal stuff I've done, I want to win games and take this as far as I can take it because all of us have that…women have an internal clock for babies and football players have an internal clock for Super Bowls.

**Q: When did you get to the point where you started to make plays where you might not get credit for but you are helping a teammate make plays? When did you start to become that type of player that would blow things up for somebody else to make plays?

MS:** I think I've had to do that over the last few years because a lot of stuff has been keyed on me. I have to tell the running back, 'If a guy is going to chip then I'll hold the running back, you rush even if you aren't the first one on the play.' Or tell Kenny Holmes, 'Okay when we run this spin, I know they are going to look for me to come inside. So I'm going to come inside, just try to wash everybody down and you come around and make the play.' We definitely incorporate some things that help everybody out, because when they are keying on one person for most of the time, especially when it comes to the pass rush, other guys have to contribute. And if I can help other guys contribute then maybe something will fall into my lap as far as making a play. I think we just want to be competitive and be strong over all the defensive line. The only way we are going to do that is through unselfishness.

**Q: Did you have any reaction at all to your fellow Campbell Soup spokesman Donovan McNabb being labeled overrated last week?

MS:** Who said that?

**Q: Rush Limbaugh.

MS:** Come on man, you think I've been on Mars or something. I think Donovan said it himself. It is just disappointing that people say stupid things like that. I don't necessarily listen to his show, so I don't really have an opinion I guess. I think I'm overrated.

**Q: You are in enough commercials…

MS:** You are telling me. I am sick of seeing myself.

**Q: In all seriousness, where do you feel like you stand…maybe even all time?

MS:** I've got a long way to go. I have been fortunate enough to play against a lot of great players and be friends with a lot of great players. I talk to Bruce Smith and he's still out there plugging away with almost 200 sacks. I just look at him and go, 'How in the Lord's name did you last this long?' But you see guys who take care of themselves. I don't really think in those terms, because I think when I do it will make it seem like I'm just about at the end of the road which I don't feel like I am. Let's just say I'm hanging in there like a 25-year-old.

**Q: Judging from your comments after the game, did you feel like the people were overreacting a little to this 2-2 start giving that you guys have been pretty good at bouncing back?

MS:** I think for us, I think for any team, it is too early in the season to condemn a team and say that a team is out of it. It just doesn't make sense to do it. I just told a guy that I've been around here, and some of you guys have been here longer than me, and we all realize that at 2-2 the season is not over. So to act like it is, is ridiculous. Why waste my time? Because we all know it's not from past history. Look at the Eagles. They were 0-2, to see their 2-2 and they up their in the front of the pack in the division. It's never over until you are just truly out of it. Right now we are so far from it that entertaining the idea of it just isn't even a concept to me.

**Q: Do you know that [Bill] Belichick figures you could have started on the '86 Giants team to win the Super Bowl?

MS:** He said that?

**Q: Yeah. He was asked that today.

MS:** Whoa. Now that's the ultimate compliment. Wow. Man. I can't even imagine.

**Q: He didn't even say it as in, 'Yeah, maybe he could get some time.' He said, 'Hell yeah!'

MS:** That is a huge compliment. Hopefully I can live up to that on Sunday

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