EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan retired Monday after a 15-year NFL career with the New York Giants that was capped by a Super Bowl title four months ago.
The 36-year-old Strahan, the NFL's active leader in sacks, informed the front office in the morning without telling his coaches and teammates.
"I'm just finding out about it; let me get organized," coach Tom Coughlin said after a team workout.
Strahan is walking away from a $4 million salary for the final year of his contract. He has long said he wants a job in television.
Tony Agnone, Strahan's agent, did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press. Strahan's retirement was first reported by Foxsports.com
"It was important that my teammates knew which way I was going before they got on the field to start the work to defend our title," Strahan told the Web site. "It's time. I'm done."
Strahan seriously considered retirement before the start of last season, missing almost all of training camp while coming to a decision.
He returned days before the season, anchoring a defensive line that was instrumental in hounding New England quarterback Tom Brady in New York's stunning Super Bowl 17-14 victory over the previously unbeaten Patriots.
"I knew it was going to (eventually) happen," quarterback Eli Manning said. "He had a tremendous career. If that is the case, he picked a great season to go out on."
Fellow Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora was told of the retirement as he walked to the locker room after practice.
"I talked to Mike last week and he told me he was still unsure," Umenyiora said. "He was really, really thinking about it, but I didn't think he was going to do it today."
Strahan was the Giants' leader in the locker room. He taught the young defensive ends how to play the position. He was also a gym rat, spending as much time working out as the youngest free agent trying to win a roster spot.
"It's a very, very sad day for me personally," Umenyiora said. "I loved him like a brother. You put in 15 strong years in the NFL, man that is something in this day and age is impossible to do."
Last season, Strahan was outstanding. He started 15 of 16 games, had 46 tackles and nine sacks.
"I am very happy for him," said receiver Amani Toomer, who played 12 seasons with Strahan. "I think he is going to find a way on his feet. I just wish him the best."
A second-round pick in the 1993 draft, Strahan is the Giants' career sacks leader with 141 1/2. Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor had the old mark of 132 1/2, although that total does not included 9 1/2 the linebacker had as a rookie in 1981, the year before sacks became an official statistic.
Strahan set the single-season mark of 22 1/2 sacks in 2001, getting the last one in the final game of the season when Brett Favre mysteriously fell late in the game, and No. 92 got credit for the sack. Favre announced his retirement shortly after the Giants' Super Bowl win.
Justin Tuck is the leading candidate to move into Strahan's starting spot.
"The guy has had a great career, 15 years, a first ballot Hall of Famer," he said. "I'm not surprised, just how he did it. I thought he was more of a news conference guy, you know, the whole world watching."
Umenyiora felt Strahan was playing so well he would return this season.
"He retired at the top of his game," he said. "A lot of us don't get the chance to do that."