NEW YORK (WFAN) — The drama could begin as soon as Monday for unhappy Giants star Osi Umenyiora.
The defensive end has said he will not attend the start of New York’s voluntary offseason program, a person close to Umenyiora told the Newark Star-Ledger.
Umenyiora, meanwhile, wouldn’t disclose his decision Thursday.
“You never really know what’s going to happen,” Umenyiora said at the NFL’s pop-up store in Manhattan. “We’ll see what happens on Monday.”
Umenyiora is a bargain with one season at $3.975 million remaining on his seven-year contract. And he knows it.
He wants a long-term extension. The Giants, who have been down this road before with Umenyiora, could pay him, trade him or do nothing and hope the veteran doesn’t hold out of training camp.
“It would be a wonderful thing to do to start your career with one team and finish it with one team. I would love to do it,” said Umenyiora. “Is it realistic? Is it reality? Who knows.”
Umenyiora doesn’t just want to see the money. He also wants to reclaim his job as a starter.
“I don’t like being a backup, I can tell you that,” he said. “It worked for us last year, but I was coming of an injury or whatever. But I see myself as a starter in the NFL. I see myself as a Pro Bowl type player. That’s the way I see myself.”
Umenyiora had 12.5 sacks last season, including the playoffs. He missed the first three games of the regular season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-August.
Umenyiora was involved in a short holdout at the beginning of training camp last year — and it surely could come to that again.
The 30-year-old tried to force a trade or a new deal during the preseason, after he claimed in an affidavit that Giants general manager Jerry Reese reneged on an earlier promise to restructure his contract.
Compare that to wide receiver Victor Cruz, who despite also wanting more money, said last week the word “holdout” is “not even in my vocabulary.”
“He’s beloved right now,” Umenyiora said of Cruz. “The city of New York loves him. You don’t want to mess that up right now. You don’t want to be looked at as the bad guy. I’ve been there.”
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