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Mike Strahan Angered By Possible Move From Right To Left End

August 1, 1996

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Dan Reeves almost lost his job in a power struggle with New York Giants general manager George Young last season.

So this year, the Giants coach is taking on some easier foes: right, or is it left defensive end Michael Strahan and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

Reeves lost his cool Wednesday after Strahan and Nolan openly discussed moving Strahan from right side to the left side of the defensive line.

Strahan had vented his anger at the coaching staff over the so-called switch Wednesday at training camp, but Nolan defended it, saying it was in the best interests of the team.

Hours later, Reeves stepped into the tiff, saying the move was not a move at all. In his mind, it was just an experiment.

``If we make a permanent switch, you’ll get it from me,″ a perturbed Reeves said after practice. ``You won’t get it from some player or some assistant coach. No matter how many miles of communication you guys seem to uncover, if we’re going to make a permanent change, I’ll let you know.″

Reeves said moving Strahan from the right to left side was an experiment for this week’s game against Jacksonville.

Strahan, who led the Giants with 7 1/2 sacks last season, certainly didn’t view it that way meeting with reporters after lunch. The way he saw it, the Giants were clearing the way to move No. 1 draft pick Cedric Jones into the starting right end position.

Nolan also discussed the move, saying Strahan was the only Giants end capable of playing the left side, which is the direction most offenses run.

Sources close to the team said there is a good chance Strahan will be moved permanently to the left side if Reeves likes the way he plays Friday against the Jaguars.

Strahan vented some of his frustrations Wednesday, disclosing that a lot of the team’s defensive linemen were confused by recent position switches.

He was annoyed not only by the decision to move him halfway through training camp, but also by the motivation of having a rookie eventually take his spot.

``To be honest, I’m not a coach and I have no idea what’s going on,″ Strahan said. ``As defensive linemen, we get together and talk to each other about it _ moving Robert (Harris) inside ... moving me to the left side _ and what do they hope to accomplish by doing this? We have no idea.″

While Strahan said he had an idea the Giants might want to play Jones on the right side, he wasn’t told until Monday. That was the same day Jones, the fifth pick in the draft, practiced with the team for the first time.

Earl Leggett, the Giants’ defensive line coach, asked Strahan to take a few snaps on the left side as an experiment.

Strahan, who turned down a five-year, $10 million contract offer and accepted the team’s one-year tender offer of $785,000, met with Nolan later in the day to ask about the experiment and he was told he was being moved, a fact Reeves later disputed.

``I really didn’t want to do it, and I wasn’t going to do it,″ Strahan said. ``After I got back to my room and talked with some people and talked to myself, I said, `If you want to play, this is what you have to do because this is the situation in front of you.′

``Of course I was upset,″ he added. ``I’ve been here three or four years, and I thought I did well at that end and I am only going to get better.″

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