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Michael Strahan wonders why Giants have taken so long to retire his number: ‘Expected it a little bit sooner’

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From the time he walked off the field as a champion in Super Bowl XLII and into retirement, the No. 92 on the New York Giants has been reserved exclusively for Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end and franchise legend Michael Strahan. But somehow, nearly 15 years have passed without Strahan’s number officially being taken out of the rotation and put in the rafters of MetLife Stadium for good.

That changes on Sunday, as the Giants will officially retire Strahan’s No. 92 at halftime of their Week 12 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s an honor that Strahan, the Giants’ all-time leader in sacks, iis looking forward to. But all the same, he has openly wondered why it took the Giants so long for them to officially retire his number.

Here’s what Strahan said, via the Associated Press:

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“I’ll be honest with you, I would have honestly expected it a long time ago. 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. Things come in the time in which they’re meant to come and not at the time in which you want them to come sometimes. That’s the way I’m looking at it. I don’t want it to look as if I’m ungrateful or I’m not honored by it, because I truly am. I probably would’ve expected it to come a little bit sooner than it did, yes.”

While the Giants had never officially retired Strahan’s number until now, it had been effectively retired and off-limits to players since his retirement at the end of the 2007 season. Defensive lineman Leonard Williams revealed last week that he had wanted No. 92 when he joined the Giants, but chose No. 99 after his request was denied by the team.

The Giants could certainly use Strahan’s “stomp you out” energy against the Eagles. They enter the game against one of their most-hated rival at 3-7 and coming off a short week that saw them fire offensive coordinator Jason Garrett after a humiliating offensive output against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Although the Giants won their last games against Philadelphia, the Eagles have spent the last decade torturing Big Blue with 12 wins in their last 14 meetings. Things were different in Strahan’s era, as he reveled in being an Eagles Killer — 21.5 of Strahan’s 141.5 career sacks came against Philadelphia, more than any other team in the NFL.

“I always loved playing the Philadelphia Eagles,” Strahan said. “They were always good for a few sacks a game.”

Strahan will become the 14th player in Giants history to have his number retired and the second this season. Earlier this year, the Giants retired quarterback Eli Manning’s No. 10 at halftime of their Week 3 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

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Blue Jays employ long ball to secure a series split in Tampa

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Through a season-defining stretch that featured 16 of 21 games against the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles, and which saw them post a 10-6 record, the Toronto Blue Jays head home with a solid grip on the top wild-card spot and a playoff-berth clinch imminent.

Their magic number is down to five after a 7-1 win Sunday over the Rays secured a four-game weekend split at Tropicana Field, the soul-less circus tent where so many Blue Jays dreams have gone to die. Alejandro Kirk opened the second by rocking a 97 m.p.h. fastball from AL all-star starter Shane McClanahan over the wall in left, while George Springer took the lefty deep in the third and fifth innings, leading the way in a second straight win after three straight losses.

Teoscar Hernandez added a two-run shot in the eighth and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. an RBI single in the ninth, helping five shutout innings of hard contact but little damage from Ross Stripling and four frames of clean relief stand up before a crowd of 16,394.

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At 86-67, the Blue Jays moved two games clear of the Rays (84-69) atop the wild-card race, with the Seattle Mariners (83-68), who were at Kansas City, beginning the day 1.5 games off the pace. A loss by the Baltimore Orioles (79-72), who were hosting Houston, could further cut Toronto’s magic number.

The Blue Jays were in a much more precarious spot back before this gruelling run began, heading into a Sept. 5 doubleheader at Baltimore trailing both the Mariners and Rays in the wild-card standings and just 1.5 games on the Orioles for the third wild-card.

A sweep of that twin-bill spring-boarded them into a 13-8 run that included a 5-2 mark against the Orioles and a 5-4 run against the Rays, their perennial nemesis, that helped reset the standings.

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Nine games remain, beginning with the first of three against the New York Yankees on Monday night, and if not for the losses in five games last Sunday to Friday, that series would have at least placed a run at the AL East on the spectrum of possibility.

Instead, the Yankees will arrive on the verge of securing the division title, leaving the Blue Jays playing for homefield advantage in the wild-card round, where they may very well encounter the Rays once again.

Recovering to earn a split and finish 4-5 at the Trop this year — they were 5-5 versus the Rays at Rogers Centre — should help steel them for another meeting against a rival that dogged them in all 19 meetings.

McClanahan had been tough on the Blue Jays in the past, allowing only six earned runs in 26.1 innings over five previous starts, but gave up a career-high three homers in his five innings Sunday.

That support came after Stripling dodged damage in a first inning that included four balls put in play at 98.8 m.p.h. or harder. He better suppressed hard contact from there, allowing just a Taylor Walls double and Randy Arozarena sacrifice fly in the third over the next four innings.

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A brilliant pick by third baseman Matt Chapman on an Isaac Paredes chopper with men on the corners to end the third helped, too.

Zach Pop, Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards and Yusei Kikuchi each threw an inning to close things out.



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Panthers' Defense shuts down Saints in a 22-14 Week 3 victory

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The Carolina Panthers’ Defense held the New Orleans Saints in check while recording two interceptions, one blocked field goal and a fumble returned for a touchdown in the Panthers’ 22-14 victory.



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K.J. Osborn leads Vikings to victory over Lions with a game-winning touchdown reception

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K.J. Osborn led the Minnesota Vikings to the victory over the Detroit Lions with a game-winning touchdown reception.



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