All had been quiet on the Osi Umenyiora front -- until he appeared on New York's WFAN radio Wednesday. Umenyiora told Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts that he was enduring the worst offseason of his life and that he vowed to take extreme measures if he's not back in the starting lineup in 2010.
"I’m not going to be a backup player, I can promise you that,” Umenyiora said. “I’ll stop playing football before I do that ever again. This has been just the worst offseason of my entire life. I can’t even think of a time when things were this bad during the offseason. You’re supposed to be relaxing, but I can’t relax because all I can think of is the things that took place last season. So for me, it’s not something that I’m going to do. And if I’m asked to come back there and do that then I’ll just stop playing football.”
For the record, I don't think Umenyiora's posturing is helping his cause. Like several Giants defenders, Umenyiora wasn't playing up to his potential in '09 and coach Tom Coughlin decided to bench him. It's pretty obvious that the coach was attempting to send the rest of the team a message with his willingness to take a star player off the field. Umenyiora's pride was injured in the process and he continues to nurse his wounds in a very public manner.
I don't think the Giants have any intention of trading Umenyiora. New defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will sit down with him at some point and let him know how important he is to the defense. Jeremy Shockey was willing to pretty much make a nuisance of himself on the way out of town a couple years ago.
That's not in Umenyiora's nature to make a spectacle of himself. In fact, I think you'll see him back off these comments pretty quickly. Here's what he said when the guys from WFAN asked if his time with the Giants might be coming to an end:
"Did it go through my mind? Obviously, yes,” said Umenyiora. “Obviously, you come through a situation where you’ve been here for a long time and you’ve won a Super Bowl, you’ve been to the Pro Bowl a couple of times and then things like that start happening, you start being benched and they say you’re coming in on the third-down rush. It almost seemed as if the writing was on the wall at that particular time. I felt like I had worn out my welcome, because once teams start doing things like that, it seems like you’ve obviously worn out your welcome. For certain people, no matter what happens, they’ll never take them out of the lineup. ... But you never know, man. I hope it’s not. I hope things can be rectified and things can be resolved. But we’ll see."