Michael Strahan headed to Canton

NEW YORK -- Michael Strahan, who played 15 seasons at defensive end for the New York Giants from 1993 to 2007, and ranks fifth in NFL history with 141.5 quarterback sacks, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Strahan, whose final game was the Giants' Super Bowl XLII victory over the undefeated New England Patriots, was elected to the Hall of Fame in his second year of eligibility. He was a finalist last year.

"I'm excited to have made it and to join the other members of the Hall of Fame," Strahan said. "And to be inducted with the class I'm inducted in, guys that I admired when I played against them, guys I admired when I watched them, even though they're from a different era. They're guys of high character. That's all you can ask for, to be with a group like that, and I'm honored to be with this group."

America may now know Strahan as Kelly Ripa's popular and engaging co-host of ABC's morning talk show "Live." But long before that, he was a feared pass-rusher who set the NFL's single-season record for sacks with 22.5 in 2001. He led the league again two years later with 18.5, and overall he collected at least 11 sacks in six different seasons.

Strahan was the Giants' second-round pick (40th overall) in the 1993 draft out of Texas Southern, where he set a school record with 41.5 sacks. He became a starter at defensive end in 1994, the year after the retirement of franchise icon Lawrence Taylor, helping the Giants engineer a somewhat seamless transition in their pass rush.

In addition to his 141.5 career regular-season sacks, Strahan had 9.5 in 10 career postseason games, including one in Super Bowl XLII. He is the 29th former Giants player to reach the Hall of Fame, and the 20th whose primary contribution was deemed to have been for the Giants. Former Giants coach Bill Parcells was elected last year.

"It's incredible. Football changed my life, period," Strahan said. "And now I'm sure this will definitely change my life as well. I just think about being recognized as one of the best that's ever played in the greatest sport in our country, and being respected for the way that you played it. That in itself changes my life. Maybe not for anybody else, but it does for me, and that's very important to me."