- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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Defensive end Osi Umenyiora again was a no-show at the Giants’ voluntary OTA workout.
And teammate Mathias Kiwanuka certainly understands why Umenyiora is not with his teammates.
“His situation… he has been under contract in a bad deal for years now and anybody who looks at the situation would say well, this should have been taken care of a long time ago,” Kiwanuka said when asked about Umenyiora’s contract dispute with the Giants. “For whatever reason it hasn’t. So I understand his frustration.”
Umenyiora is at odds with the team over his contract, which has this season remaining on it for just under $4 million. After Jerry Reese said the team had offered Umenyiora an extension the last two years, the defensive end countered by saying the team offered a guarantee of half of the $10.95 guaranteed money Kiwanuka received when he recently signed a three-year extension worth $21.75 million.
Kiwanuka said he was not upset that Umenyiora, who said the linebacker deserved his contract extension, brought up his contract.
“There was nothing that he said that was outright disrespectful,” Kiwanuka said. “Osi and I, we have a relationship. I know if something came up that I felt was out of line, I would have called him and we would have handled it but I didn’t think it was anything that went that far.”
“I know it wasn’t a slight at me, he was just trying to get his point across,” Kiwanuka added.
Justin Tuck carefully measured his words while supporting his good friend and teammate on Jim Rome's show on Tuesday.
“It's hard,” Tuck said on "ROME" on CBS Sports Network. “He signed a contract and I believe in abiding by that contract but also I think he's outplayed that contract, in today's market and how some of these defensive ends are getting paid lots of money I think he deserves to get paid.”
"I'm rooting for him to end his career as a Giant,” Tuck added. “But you also understand the business aspect of things and at the end of the day I just hope everything works out for him and his family and the Giants.''
Many of Umenyiora's teammates are watching to see how the situation will be resolved.
“If he was signed to a deal that was twice that and he performed half of what he is, he would have been cut by now,” Kiwanuka said. “That is just the reality of this game. But the fact that he is signed to a lower average salary deal and playing at a high level, 10-plus sacks every year, the fact that nothing has been done with it, it is an obvious issue. It would be an issue for anybody out here. I understand his frustration but there is nothing I can do about it.”
“At this point, he is trying to do whatever he can,” Kiwanuka added. “Everybody looks and sees how things are going for him and then wonders what would happen if I were in that same situation. As a player you empathize with him and hope it gets done.”
2dDan Graziano and Adam Caplan