Antrel Rolle: Osi Umenyiora return makes Giants' 'D' phenomenal
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The safety, who was one of the players to publicly support Umenyiora last week -- support Umenyiora said was one of the reasons he signed what he still believes is a "substandard" deal -- said on Tuesday night that having Umenyiora back will help make the Giants "phenomenal."
"Just having him back I think is going to make my job a whole lot easier and it's going to make this team that much more significantly better," Rolle said at David Tyree's charity bowling event at Chelsea Piers. "It's going to help him also to get exactly what he's looking for which is a great deal. I'm just excited to have him back."
Rolle insisted that Umenyiora's wrangling and standoffs with the Giants were never a distraction.
"Everyone knows this is a business in the NFL," he said "Osi had to do whatever it is he had to do. They have a great relationship with the Giants but sometimes business can get a little sticky. We all know that. But there were no distractions. It didn't hinder anything that we were doing out there on the field."
Still, having Umenyiora back with the team before they break for the summer makes things easier. And makes nearly everyone happier.
"I'm glad that's behind him now," Rolle said "He's smiling like a kid in a candy shop right now and I'm also smiling because he's a great teammate and an even better person."
Eli Manning, also at Tyree's event, said having all the players on the fold before the start of training camp is crucial.
"Anytime you get your players back, especially an important player like Osi, a guy who has been around a long time and is a good teammate and good player, it's good to have him back in the locker room and back out practicing," Manning said. "People don't have to worry about it or answer questions about it. We can just worry about playing football."
With Umenyiora, that ought to be a little easier. His return to the field last season from an ankle injury was one key to the Super Bowl run. And with Umenyiora playing beside (or behind) Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants would seem to have the best defensive line in the NFL.
"I truly think so," Rolle said of that claim. "We have an outstanding defensive line without Osi but with Osi there it makes it that much better. It's phenomenal."
Of course, it wouldn't be like Rolle to simply stop there.
"I think we have a great team all around, not just defensive line'" he added. "We're stacked right now at each and every position and as long as the guys stay healthy it's going to be a great run."
Notes & quotes: While the original value of Umenyiora's new deal was reported at $7.5 million, upon further inspection it will be between $6 and $6.5 million including $2 million signing bonus and an easily voidable 2013 season . . . Tyree's event helped raise money for Children of the City and The Legacy Center, two programs that work with underprivileged youth. "I've done bowling events in the past and I decided to resurrect it this year and the Giants just happened to be champions so it made for a good combination," Tyree said. Other Giants who attended included Chris Canty, Kevin Boothe, Jake Ballard and Steve Weatherford.