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Published On: Mon, Oct 20th, 2014

Michael Strahan talks Kelly Ripa, advice from dad, celeb status and cigars

Michael Strahan’s rise to NFL greatness was improbable, and his second coming as a television star is even more remarkable. After 15 years with the New York Giants, the 6 foot 5 former football superstar now juggles three TV jobs and has even more ventures to keep him occupied. But despite his physical size and drive to defy categorization, this gentle giant also has an admitted shy side off the small screen.

Michael strahan cigar aficionado coverThe November cover story in Cigar Aficionado hits newsstands October 28th. A selection of quotations include:

On knowing no limits: “I don’t limit myself and I tell my kids not to let anyone limit you. That’s one of the great things I learned from my dad. He never said, ‘If…’ It wasn’t ‘If you’re drafted by the pros.’ It was always ‘When.’ When you’re drafted by the pros. He made things seem like they were supposed to happen.”

On his football field strategy: “I always looked at football as psychological. It was like chess, where you’re figuring out what your opponent’s next move will be, or how to make them move where you want them to…That’s one of the things I miss—that chess match.”

On the difference in his life since leaving football: “I’m not sore every morning.”

Co-host Kelly Ripa on Strahan’s surprising shyness: “All he has are strengths. He can talk about anything…If charm was a drug, you could extract it from his body and give it to everyone…People run up and hug him. They see a big personality. But in his private time, he’s really very shy.”

On his “Live with Kelly and Michael” audience: “Those are the only ones we really think about talking to. If I started thinking about how many people are actually watching us on TV, it would freak me out.”

On being in the limelight: “One of the most embarrassing things to me is people yelling out my name in the street, I want to be the guy who can walk in and out of a room and you don’t know I’ve been there…I miss being able to sit in a restaurant and not have people try to sneak a photo with their cameras.”

On finding anonymity within the community of cigar smokers: “Cigars solicit conversation. You see someone smoking a cigar and you feel instantly closer to them.”

On his choice cigars: “For the most part, I like my cigars light and sweet. Sometimes, though, give me something robust that will knock my socks off. I think the little ones look funny in my hand because I’m such a big guy. But I don’t want a cigar that’s the size of my thumb either.”

On his many ventures off of the field and what’s next: “Someone asked me what I’d like my legacy to be. When I thought about it, I decided I’d like to have been more successful outside of football than I was in it…I’m not done yet. I’ve got a long way to go.”

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