Before the NFL Lockout ended and the New York Giants were able to begin training camp CEO John Mara was adamant that unhappy defensive end Osi Umenyiora and general manager Jerry Reese needed to sit ‘man-to-man’ and work out their differences.
That has not happened. Umenyiora still has not practices with the Giants, attending workouts each night but riding a stationary bike rather than participating. He continues to insist on a trade, re-worked contract or having the Giants lop a year off the two remaining years of his current deal so he can be a free agent after the season. The Giants have reportedly offered only some contract incentives to potentially boost his earnings.
Despite the obvious stalement, Mara is steadfast in his belief that Umenyiora will play for the Giants this season:
“Yes. I think it will be resolved and he’ll be a Giant this year,” Mara said. "It’s something we can work out. We’re already talking to his agent to do something incentive wise with his contract to make him happy.
“We want him on this team,” Mara said. “He belongs here. He’s had a great career here. He adds a lot to this team. I always say, the reason we were able to win Super Bowl XLII was that they couldn’t block our front. That was the first time all year Tom Brady faced that kind of pressure. That, to me, is the heart of our team. We’re hoping we can work it out soon.”
Giants’ fans hope he is right. The thought of lining up Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Jason Pierre-Paul as down linemen in a pass-rush package is worth getting excited about.
Right now, though, how the two sides actually make it happen is anybody’s guess.