The New York Giants are coming off a year in which they made another improbable Super Bowl run fueled by the play of their defensive line. A major aspect of the improvement on the defensive line was the healthy return of Osi Umenyiora, former Pro Bowl-er and pass rusher extraordinaire.
Osi was a monster in the 2012 playoffs, collecting 3.5 sacks over four games against some of the best offensive lines in the game. It was clear he was out to prove his worth during that run.
“I’m not going to discuss Osi’s contract situation with you guys. I can say this to you, though: the New York Giants are a better football team with Osi Umenyiora on our team. We respect him as a football player. Our goal is to have Osi play football with the New York Giants and retire as a Giant. That is what we would like to do first. All of our options are open as I have said before but Osi makes us a better football team, I do know that.”
I have to admire Reese during this entire situation. He could have easily fired back and stirred up a major controversy when Osi has badmouthed him on several occasions. Instead of looking childish and immature, he has paid respect to Osi’s talents to the media.
This whole feud started when Osi responded to comments made by Reese in a live TV interview during the 2012 NFL Draft. Reese commented that the Giants have offered two contract extensions to Osi the previous calendar year, both of which he turned down.
This was news to just about everybody, and Osi quickly responded to these comments. In an email to the Newark Star-Ledger, Osi claims he is not a “greedy pig” as the Giants are making him out to be.
“They offered an extension, guaranteeing half of what they just gave ‘Kiwi’ [Mathias Kiwanuka] guaranteed. So he is telling the truth. And I’m a greedy pig for turning down half of what they just gave ‘Kiwi.’ Lol.”
Clearly Osi is being sarcastic when he says Reese is telling the truth.
With one of these opportunities arising for Reese to retaliate to the media, he instead insisted nothing is personal about the contract negotiations with Osi.
“I don’t carry grudges. That is the offseason, that is part of the job. In the offseason there is always some controversy about contracts. It is not just one person, it can be several different people with contract situations. That is part of my job, it is never personal, I don’t think it is personal with respect to players and it definitely is not personal with respect to me. It is just part of the business.”
So I ask you, whose side are you on Giants fan? There is no question the Giants are a better team with Osi on the field, but will he be willing to accept a backup role? All signs seem to point towards a holdout from Osi. He is frustrated with the organization and feels he deserves compensation for his contributions to the team.
Can the Giants move on if Osi is traded? They have two talented starters in JPP and Tuck, as well as starting linebacker Kiwanuka, who could be moved back to defensive end in a pinch.
If the Giants want to keep their Super Bowl winning formula together, it could cost them a pretty penny. They’ve already lost multiple contributors from last year’s team, are they willing to lose one more?
The following months will give us an answer, hopefully one that keeps the Giants a contender.