Osi Umenyiora: It was fun while it lasted
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Osi Umenyiora may have played his last game as a Giant. It wasn't a noteworthy game -- a couple of quarterback hits on Michael Vick is all that stood out on the stat sheet -- but Umenyiora will hold his head high.
"If it is [my last game here], I'm just happy to have been in this situation, to have played for this organization, played for this team and to have accomplished the things we did with this team," he said Sunday. "You never know what's going to happen, but if indeed it is [my last game here], it is what it is -- I'm going to go out smiling. It was a great victory."
Umenyiora finished his ninth Giants season with six sacks, tied for his fewest since he became a regular in 2004. He's not the only key Giant who is facing an uncertain future; Kenny Phillips is a free agent and Michael Boley and David Diehl are going into the final seasons of their contracts with drastically reduced roles.
Justin Tuck, who had a sack in a game in which he was more noticeable than he had been during the past month, also is entering the final year of his deal, as is cornerback Corey Webster, who is due more than $7 million in salary and did not play well down the stretch. Ahmad Bradshaw has a couple of years left on his deal, but his injuries might prompt a restructured contract, especially with the promise shown by rookie David Wilson.
Bradshaw ran with a purpose, contributing 107 yards to crack the 1,000-yard barrier and he scored a touchdown.
"We knew this was going to be the last ride for a lot of guys to be Giants, and we just wanted to have fun with those guys," Bradshaw said. "It could be me at the same token, so I just wanted to come out and put it all on the field."
Umenyiora, who has been through a few public contract squabbles that have helped to make him expendable, is the most high-profile Giant who might be headed out the door after the team missed the playoffs.
"It's actually a great feeling, knowing I still have some good football in me," he said. "If it's here, it's here, I hope it is, but if it's not, I'm just happy to have played here for this great city, this great organization, this great team."
Diehl's expected exit will not be a surprise, given his injuries of late and current fill-in role along the offensive line. He was part of a group that formed in 2005 and stayed together for five seasons. Chris Snee might end up being the last of that group still around, with Rich Seubert, Shaun O'Hara and Kareem McKenzie having retired after the Giants let each one go, the first two after the 2010 season and McKenzie after last season.
"You feel that way every year; you don't know what guys are going to be back," Snee said. "There'll be changes. You can always reflect on the guys that were here, the times we had together."
And if Umenyiora goes, another link to the Super Bowl XLII defensive front that harassed Tom Brady in February 2008 will be gone. But he won't go sulking. "I wasn't thinking about this is my last time," he said. "We played like the way we're supposed to play."