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Strahan, Runyan resume trench war

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Posted: Friday January 05, 2001 6:35 PM

  Michael Strahan Michael Strahan came out on top against the Eagles in the previous two meetings of the teams this season. Harry How/Allsport

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Michael Strahan knows who Jon Runyan is. He's just not talking about him anymore.

Strahan, the left defensive end for the New York Giants, and Runyan, the right tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, renew their rivalry Sunday in an NFC divisional playoff game.

Neither has said much to fuel the feud this week.

"Ask me after this game," Strahan said.

After the first game -- a 33-18 victory for the Giants in Week 2 -- Strahan left the field at Veterans Stadium saying, "Jon Runyan who?"

Runyan, who got a six-year, $30.5 million deal from the Eagles last offseason, didn't appreciate Strahan's comments. He fared better in their second meeting, but the Giants won 24-7.

After that game, Strahan accused Runyan of playing dirty.

"That's him running his mouth," Runyan said. "That's what he's known for. I'm known for being out there and playing physical, taking my shots when I have them. That's what I'm going to do."

Runyan said the matchup is overblown a bit because he doesn't block Strahan one-on-one every play. At times, a guard or running back helps out depending on the blocking scheme.

"If there's a guard behind you or if the back's there, if you get beat you know you can take shots if you get help," Runyan said.

Runyan, however, doesn't need more help with Strahan than any other player during the course of a game.

"They brought me here to play right tackle," Runyan said. "They don't want me to play right tackle and have somebody behind me every play. That defeats the purpose."

While the Strahan-Runyan battle gets most of the attention, there are other interesting matchups on the lines.

Left tackle Tra Thomas goes against Cedric Jones, and guards John Welbourn and Jermane Mayberry and center Bubba Miller must deal with tackles Keith Hamilton and Christian Peter.

"They're good players but we'll be prepared for them," Welbourn said. "That's the way it is in this league. You face good players every week. You have to be ready to play at the top of your game every Sunday. That's nothing new."

The Eagles controlled the ball just 38 of 120 minutes against New York this season, and converted only four of 21 third downs.

"It's probably indicative of our problems against them period," offensive coordinator Rod Dowhower said. "We all talk about not playing well against them, but in reality they're pretty good. They have a strong front. The front seven has experience on it. They added Michael Barrow and he's an excellent middle linebacker. I think we will solve it and we'll find out."

It all starts with Runyan blocking Strahan.

"I respect him," Runyan said, pausing, "as a player."

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