Michael Strahan is 36 years old, and 2008 would have been his 16th NFL season, but regardless of age, the loss of the future Hall of Famer is a major hit for the New York Giants and their defense. Strahan still was playing at a high level opposite fellow DE Osi Umenyiora, who demanded enough attention from opposing offenses to allow even a player like Strahan one-on-one matchups on the outside.
Strahan also was a leader on the field and in the locker room. He had the experience and instincts to identify formations and tendencies and communicate effectively to the linebackers on the second level, and he knew how to deal with the off-field aspects of playing in New York.
Still, Strahan missed all of training camp last season and would not have been in camp if he had come back this year, and the Giants have been preparing for this day for some time now. They drafted Mathias Kiwanuka in the first round in 2006 and have assembled impressive depth along the defensive line. Closing the book on this situation now allows the players still on the roster to move forward without all the questions and distractions that surrounded Strahan leading up to last season.