Strahan's letter to Giants fans doesn't catch Coughlin off guard

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Coach Tom Coughlin said Michael Strahan's letter to New York Giants fans explaining his holdout was consistent with what the seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end told him in a telephone conversation last week.

In his letter, Strahan said his holdout had nothing to do with money and everything to do with uncertainty about whether he wants to return for a 15th NFL season.

"Anyone who plays in the NFL with doubts or second guessing is not only putting themselves at risk, but their teammates also," Strahan wrote in an e-mail distributed by his agent, Tony Agnone late Sunday. "I will never do that."

While Coughlin respects Strahan's concerns, he also said the team needs to know if Strahan is going to play.

"We still would like Michael to be in here," Coughlin said. "But Michael has to be in that right frame of mind and want to be here and want to be a part of our team, and he knows that."

Coughlin has not talked to Strahan for more than a week.

Strahan's holdout was in its 11th day on Monday. He is being fined $14,288 daily.

GiantsPro Bowl linebacker Antonio Pierce said Monday that he still believes Strahan will play, noting that Strahan has not yet filed retirement papers. He added that No. 92 could probably report to camp a week before the Sept. 9 opener against Dallas and be ready to play.

"I think Mike is very capable, even if he came in the day before," Pierce said. "I heard stories about Lawrence Taylor and things he used to do. I'm sure he could do that if he decided to come back."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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