The New York Giants on Saturday afternoon activated defensive end Michael Strahan to the 53-player roster, all but assuring that the 14-year veteran will play in Sunday night's season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
Giants officials stopped short of acknowledging that Strahan will play Sunday, but there would have been no reason to remove him from the NFL's exempt list if he was not ready to participate. New York had received a two-week exemption for Strahan when he reported on Monday, so that he would not immediatley count against the team's roster.
To create a roster spot for Strahan on Saturday, the Giants waived third-year veteran cornerback Dovonte Edwards, who had been claimed on waivers from Minnesota earlier this week.
Strahan, 35, skipped all of training camp and the preseason while he considered retirement, then reported late Monday afternoon and resumed practices Tuesday morning. The Giants' coaches wanted to assess Strahan's conditioning and gauge whether or not he was ready for game action before moving him to the active roster.
Third-year veteran Justin Tuck, who enjoyed a solid training camp, has been starting in place of Strahan at left end. It could be that Tuck will start against the Cowboys, with Strahan used mostly in pass-rush situations.
At the team hotel, Strahan told ESPN's Ed Werder he does not expect to start but said he has not experienced any soreness following his holdout and puts no limit on his number of snaps.
"I'd rather get on the field and stay out there," Strahan told Werder Saturday. "Running on and off the field would probably tire me out more than just staying in the game."
No matter how the Giants utilize Strahan, however, they are certain to closely monitor the number of snaps that he plays in his return to action.
The league's active sack leader with 132½, Strahan is tied with Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor for the Giants' franchise record and he is tied for seventh on the NFL's all-time sack list. He is coming off a 2006 season in which injuries limited him to just nine games and three sacks.
Strahan has two seasons remaining on his current contract and has a base salary of
$4 million for 2007. He accumulated more than $500,000 in fines during his absence from training camp, but the Giants agreed to reduce the penalties to $200,000 when Strahan reported for work late Monday afternoon.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com. ESPN's Ed Werder contributed to this report.