Former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan was confirmed for the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Feb. 1, but 2013 inductee Warren Sapp was outspoken about his candidacy heading into the announcement.
Now, Sapp is apologizing for his critique of Strahan, according to NBC's Michael David Smith:
Sapp said today on NFL Network that he approached Strahan on Saturday night and asked for forgiveness.
“I saw Michael Strahan last night,” Sapp said. “I grabbed him and hugged him and wouldn’t let him go. I said, ‘Please forgive me.’”
Strahan responded to Sapp's original stance on Jan. 28, dismissing his opinion and implying that he isn't too concerned about getting a bust in Canton, per ESPN's Dan Graziano:
Football was part of my life, but it is not my entire life. So for some guys, maybe that's their entire life and that's all they have to hold onto. Playing football, sacking quarterbacks, that was part of my life, and I did it and I moved on. The tiger does not pay attention to the opinion of the sheep.
On Jan. 29, Sapp responded to Strahan via Newsday's Neil Best:
"I can't make a man respect me, but I will stop him from disrespecting me -- I tell you that," Sapp told Newsday Wednesday night, launching the latest salvo in a war of words with Michael Strahan that has lasted more than a decade.
"He's the one who took it personally," Sapp said.
"I'm just wondering if it wasn't somebody else saying it would it be taken on face value that those four dudes have a better resume?" he asked. "Like John Quincy Adams said in 1800, 'Facts are stubborn.' " (Actually it was his father, John Adams, who said it.)
"It was about his resume; I wasn't talking about the man. But the sheep and the lion and all that? I don't understand. He still can't rush that right end. Three years, 12 sacks!"
That last line is similar to what Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said following his team's NFC Championship Game victory, when he replied to criticism of his impassioned postgame speech:
A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of a sheep.— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) January 20, 2014
Lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) aside, Strahan is clearly comfortable in his own skin and blocking out any negativity Sapp is slinging his way. He also said he's glad Sapp doesn't have a vote.
Newsday's Neil Best reported what Sapp said about Strahan's Hall of Fame credentials earlier on Jan. 28 at Super Bowl Media Day:
Warren Sapp on @michaelstrahan Hall of Fame candidacy: "I don't think his resume stacks up."— Neil Best (@sportswatch) January 28, 2014
Sapp on @michaelstrahan: "He only has four straight pro bowls and a mythical sack record. When you really measure him up he comes up short."— Neil Best (@sportswatch) January 28, 2014
The sack record Sapp references—mythical or otherwise—occurred when Strahan compiled a single-season-best 22.5 sacks in 2001. That, in addition to seven total Pro Bowl trips, could formulate a strong enough argument to vault the pass-rusher into the elite company he deserves among the NFL's all-time greats.
As Graziano reported, Strahan took offense to those comments, opting for sarcasm to dismiss the notion that his Hall of Fame credentials are bolstered by his prominent presence as a media personality:
I am. I'm all hype. I lasted 15 years, all hype. I had 141.5 career sacks, all hype. I was always a starter. I played left end, and that made me get sacks. My coaches kept putting me in the game because they felt it gave us the best chance to win, and that was all hype.
Strahan was also a driving force in the Giants' 17-14 Super Bowl XLII triumph over the previously undefeated New England Patriots.
Should Michael Strahan be a 2014 Hall of Famer?
Michael Eisen of Giants.com reported on Jan. 10 that Strahan was one of 15 modern-era finalists for the Hall of Fame.
A 1993 second-round draft pick (No. 40 overall) out of Texas Southern, Strahan spent his whole 15-year career through 2007 with the Giants franchise. With his charisma, passion and level of play on the gridiron, Strahan should at least garner heavy consideration his second time on the ballot.