Defensive greats Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan are no strangers to verbally bashing one another, but there's now a former teammate willing to come to the defense of the former New York Giants defensive end.
According to Paul Swartz of the New York Post, former Giants running back Tiki Barber took an opportunity Monday to blast Sapp, who he called an "idiot" over recent comments about Strahan.
"Warren’s an idiot," Barber said. "He just wants to say things to be idiotic. I played with Stray for my whole career. He is the greatest of the great. He is a great teammate, he kept things light, but on game day he was as serious as a heart attack and it showed in his play."
Barber's comments came in response to Sapp's recent assertion that former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Simeon Rice was a better pass-rusher than Strahan, who Sapp also discredited for playing on the defense's left side.
Per Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune:
Simeon was a better rusher than Michael Strahan any day of the week and twice on Sunday...(Rice) didn't rush the worst lineman. You know the right tackle is the worst of the five. Strahan played right end his first four years. When they were putting the label on him as a bust, they put 'B-U-S . OK, let's transition him on the other side and see if he can play in his fourth year.'
Rice, a three-time Pro Bowler, finished his 12-year career with 122 sacks. Strahan recorded 141.5, the fifth-most since the NFL started tracking sacks in 1981. Strahan also holds the single-season sack record, which he set at 22.5 in 2001.
Barber had more in defense of Strahan.
"Warren doesn’t know, never played with him," Barber said. "I don’t put any credence in his opinion. I hope Stray doesn’t let it bother him. I don’t think it does."
Sapp and Strahan have a long history of prodding back and forth through the media.
According to Kaufman, Sapp said back in 2001 that the sack record was "given" to Strahan. As you'll recall, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre appeared to willingly take a sack in Week 17 of that season to allow Strahan to become the new sack record holder.
"This is a man who wants something given to him and they gave it to him,'' Sapp said. "So have it.''
A year later, Strahan called Sapp a "jackass" and alleged his weight came from frequent trips to McDonalds, per USA Today. Those comments came after Sapp said Strahan's sack record should have an asterisk on it.
In February, Sapp once again bashed Strahan at a Tampa Bay radio station (h/t Joebucsfan.com) after the former Buccaneers defensive tackle was elected to the Pro Football Fame and Strahan wasn't.
In the interview, Sapp called Strahan a "media darling."
Strahan had this response over Twitter:
Barber is familiar with both players, as he spent his entire career with Strahan in New York, while Ronde Barber, Tiki's twin brother, played with Sapp in Tampa Bay.
It's clear, however, whose side Barber is on in the Sapp-Strahan feud.