Osi Umenyiora ended his petulance yesterday by finally showing up to practice, but he didn’t make himself available to the media.
Umenyiora — who’s embroiled in a contract dispute and also a “he said, he said” entanglement with general manager Jerry Reese — was seen running with the first team and joking with teammates as if nothing ever happened.
That sight was a far cry from Umenyiora’s public statement over the weekend when he said the Giants’ incentive-laden offer was “unacceptable and shows they don’t really respect the fact I sacrifice my health for the franchise … I will play under my current deal because I love and respect my coaches, my teammates, the fans and myself [but] not for those incentives.”
The ninth-year veteran seemed much happier yesterday. Although he didn’t have time for the little folks, there were plenty of co-workers willing to speak on his virtues and the importance of his return.
“It’s good to see him back. He was spirited and practice was very good. He jumped right in there and it was good to see that,” said head coach Tom Coughlin, adding he hopes the drama is over. “I hope it’s all behind us. He’s here and wants to work and wants to be a part of the team. And we certainly want him here but we don’t want part of him. We want it all.”
Umenyiora jumped back into the starting lineup, but Coughlin said that doesn’t mean the rush end position is exclusively his. The coach said there’s definitely someone breathing down his neck who’s capable of stepping right in if needed.
“He had a nice battle with [Will Beatty],” Coughlin said of Umenyiora and the left tackle. “But we’ll also see JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] on the other side and rotating with each end.”
When asked if Umenyiora will play next Monday night against the Bears, Coughlin was noncommittal, saying the Giants have enough depth along the defensive line to not rush Umenyiora’s return.