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Michael Strahan wants to know what Giants took so long to retire his number

Michael Strahan nearly flew on a rocket ship to outer space before the Giants retired his number. It took that long.

“I do go, ‘Well, what took you so long?’” Strahan, 50, said in a conference call Wednesday. “But it is an honor.”

Strahan’s star has risen so meteorically on television that he was invited to be a guest passenger on billionaire Jeff Bezos’ next 10-minute Blue Origin flight to outer space on Dec. 9.

The Hall of Fame pass rusher will have his No. 92 jersey retired first, on Sunday when the Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium.

But Strahan made clear he feels the ceremony is way overdue.

“I’ll be honest with you, I would have honestly expected it a long time ago,” the ‘Good Morning America’ host said. “I’ve been in the NFL Hall of Fame for seven years now. All of the things that I did with the Giants, I would have expected it a little bit sooner, but it’s still an honor.

“I don’t want it to look as if I’m ungrateful or I’m not honored by it, because I truly am,” he added. “I probably would’ve expected it to come a little bit sooner than it did, yes.”

This is certainly an interesting way for Strahan to handle his jersey retirement, by announcing ‘it’s about time!’

Considering the Giants retired Eli Manning’s No. 10 jersey immediately after his career ended, however, before they retired Strahan’s, it’s somewhat understandable why the pass rusher would be confused.

Strahan’s No. 92 will be the 13th Giants number removed from circulation. He holds the NFL single-season record with 22.5 sacks in 2001, when he was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. He and three-time winner Lawrence Taylor are the only Giants to ever win the award.

Strahan seems self-aware enough to understand how much winning Super Bowl XLII before his retirement meant for his post-football career.

I definitely know that if we don’t win that Super Bowl, my life is different,” he said. “I don’t think that I’m going to sit here and fool you and go, ‘No, I’m still going to have the same life.’ No, winning that Super Bowl, especially in the fashion we did it, against the team that we did it against with that record that they had, definitely put me in a different light to a lot of people — which has led to an incredible life.”

Strahan and Manning are both examples of how much winning championships in New York can vault athletes into another stratosphere of good fortune.

Manning’s 2021 calendar year has been outrageous. He’s been hired by the Giants marketing department, hired by ESPN to host a Monday Night Football broadcast, and had his number retired by both Ole Miss and the Giants.

Strahan’s stardom seemingly knows no bounds. The one-time brash, loudmouth pass rusher is going to outer space, for crying out loud. So who is having a better 2021: Manning or Strahan?

I’ve never thought of it that way,” Strahan asid. “I just kind of look at it as Eli’s living Eli’s life and I’m living mine. I don’t look at it like that to be honest with you. I’m happy for Eli and everything that is going on with him, just like I’m happy for myself and everything that’s going on with me.”

Strahan, a second-round draft pick out of Texas Southern in 1993, is one of only four Giants ever to play at least 15 seasons for the team. He said he would have considered playing a 16th season if the Giants hadn’t won the title in 2007.

“But I’m glad we did it, because I was ready to retire,” he said.

“I’m smart enough to understand that playing in New York is special for an athlete,” he added. “It puts you in a different light with so many people and it puts you on a national spotlight, which is something that definitely adds to your legacy.”