Michael Strahan, whose 15-year career ended with a victory in Super Bowl XLII, tried to inspire the defensive line as he did so often when he wore a Giants uniform.
"He basically told us not to get down and to fight the good fight," Dave Tollefson said. "He's like an older brother. A real old brother. I think he's the oldest friend I have."
"He came in there and told us we need to get correct and we need to stay strong as a line," said Jason Pierre-Paul, who will again start at defensive right end in Umenyiora's absence. "This is a defensive line, and we can't be falling apart. Even if the defensive backfield falls apart, we still have to stay strong. It's on us. Before he came in, we said the same thing."
Strahan is a studio analyst for FOX, but it's no secret he hopes the Giants succeed. He could not have liked the game in New Orleans, where the Giants gave up 49 points and 577 yards and did not sack Drew Brees.
"He wasn't upset with us or anything like that. It was just a matter of, he had some extra time, he came in," Tollefson said. "I was actually walking out of the D-line room to go to the bathroom and I see him and I'm like, 'Come on, come in here, say what's up man.' So he came in and said hi to everybody, some new guys I know never met him. I think (rookie Justin) Trattou fell in love. But for the most part, there's really not much to say. I mean I would love to give you some story about how he came in and we're gonna rally around a Michael Strahan speech, but that wasn't necessarily the fact. He just had some good stuff to say that was great to hear. Just from a guy that you have so much respect for, he could tell me how to iron clothes and I'll probably iron them the way he says it. The guy demands respect and he's always kind of been like that and you give it to him."
Tollefson was asked if the defensive linemen needed a pep talk about the long night in New Orleans.
"It was good to hear from him, let me put it that way," Tollefson said. "Did we need it? I hope not. We're all professionals. I hope we didn't need a guy to come in and lift us up. We're all pros and we need to do our job at the highest level, regardless of who has what to say. But it was good to hear from him. Any time you see Strahan, he's such a positive guy, he always has something good to say, and he looks good for 40, I'll give him that. He looks pretty good for being 40 years old.
"It's hard to really encompass everything Strahan says, because he says so much sometimes. I mean I'm sure you guys know, you followed him for a long time, he likes to hear his own voice. But he hit everything, the guy is passionate about football, he loves football, as we all do in that D-line room. And sometimes it's nice to hear someone from the outside come in and speak your language. And just have good stuff to say."
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