Strahan has 'ultimate respect' for classmate Brooks
CANTON, Ohio -- Former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan only played against Derrick Brooks four times in his career, sharing a few Pro Bowls together, but as they enter the Hall of Fame together, he said he has "ultimate respect" for the former Bucs linebacker.
"Watching him with the Bucs and being on the other sideline is like, 'There's freaking Derrick Brooks,' and nobody gets anything past Derrick Brooks," he said from Canton on Friday. "We had some tough games in Tampa, like 7-6 games. We're out there banging on Mike Alstott and they're banging down on Tiki Barber and everybody else. It was just such tough, defensive battles, and he was the leader of all that. He was the mastermind. He made sure Sapp and Lynch and everybody's where they needed to be. He was the ultimate field general."
The two were able to talk in Canton, and Strahan -- active on TV since his retirement -- said he was so impressed by the many things Brooks has to keep him busy, including charity work and his time with Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate School.
"He's a guy who's transferred everything you can learn as a professional athlete onto something helping other people and helping kids," said Strahan, who was voted to seven Pro Bowls with Brooks, playing together for the NFC five times. "I have the ultimate respect for him, and I wish I had a chance to play with him outside the Pro Bowl. That would have been incredible."