New York Giants GM Jerry Reese said on ESPN radio in New York that the contract dispute between the team and defensive end Osi Umenyiora is not personal -- at least from his end -- and reiterated that he'd like Umenyiora to "retire as a Giant." Ohm was listening to the interview on ESPN radio's new spot at 98.7 on the FM dial:
"I don't carry grudges," Reese said in an interview with Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco on ESPN New York 98.7. "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."
"I call it offseason chatter," he continued. "There is always some chatter about different situations about contracts during the offseason. That is what happened. It is never personal with me."
Which is really nice, especially since Reese was the one being called a liar by Umenyiora this time last year in a sworn affidavit as part of the Brady vs. NFL lockout suit. But whether it's personal from Reese's standpoint really isn't the issue at this point. Because other than that affidavit, there have been very few (if any) points during this three-year drama at which Reese felt he had cause to feel like the wronged party. Umenyiora's discontent over his contract has had no discernible impact on the Giants whatsoever. He's played, and played well. The times he's sat out practice in protest have had no effect on his teammates. The games he's missed due to injury have been ably handled by people such as Mathias Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul, in fact, surpassed Umenyiora as a starter last year, which is part of the basis for the current disagreement between Umenyiora and the Giants about what he should be getting paid.
It is clearly personal from Umenyiora's end, and has been for some time now. He feels disrespected by what he considers insufficient compensation. He has said he doesn't like being a backup. And it is clear that he intends to continue making an issue of his contract in this, its final season. I can't imagine a circumstance, barring some shocking new development that results in a new deal, under which Umenyiora attends all of the Giants' offseason or training camp practices. This isn't going away anytime soon, because whether it's personal from Reese's end or not, it clearly is from Umenyiora's.
In the end, what I believe will happen is Umenyiora will play out the final year of his contract on the Giants' terms. He has no leverage, and if he wants to sit out, the Giants believe they have coverage with their other excellent pass rushers. But that doesn't mean he's going to stop kicking about it anytime soon. At this point, it wouldn't be a Giants offseason if Umenyiora weren't upset.