Osi Umenyiora prefers to stay with Giants
Osi Umenyiora pushed open the door on his return to the Giants just a little bit more on Thursday.
After saying at the end of the 2012 season that it was highly unlikely that he would ever wear a Giants uniform again and saying "it's time to move on" in a post-season radio interview, the defensive end is now willing to consider another term with the only NFL team he's ever known.
And after trying for years to reach the open market, Umenyiora said he would even consider re-signing with the Giants before the start of free agency.
"I prefer to finish out my career there," Umenyiora said. "But there's a lot of things in play here. It's not going to be totally my decision. They're going to have some decisions to make also. It's going to be a collective effort. My agent's going to have his say. Hopefully things will work out there. I prefer to say there."
Giants president and CEO John Mara said last week that he, too, is hopeful Umenyiora returns.
"I would love to have him back," Mara said at a Super Bowl XLVIII event last week in New York. "He's been a great player for us. He's a great guy. He's been a huge part of our two Super Bowl wins, but there are economic considerations and we'll just have to see what happens."
The Giants' concerns may be financial, but Umenyiora said that his priorities are different.
"This decision isn't going to be solely based on money," Umenyiora said. "Honestly man, I think not only do I want to get something financially, but I want a chance to prove I am who I say I am . . . I feel like I'm a Pro Bowl player and I feel like I'm a starter in this league. Obviously that might be difficult to do in New York."
The Giants have plenty of talented defensive ends, and Umenyiora understands that. Jason Pierre-Paul played in the Pro Bowl this year and Umenyiora said he believes that Justin Tuck will have "his best year as a pro" in 2013. The Giants also have Mathias Kiwanuka, and Umenyiora said that he expects Adrian Tracy to start making a bigger impact.
"They have some very good football players over there," Umenyiora said. "But if they want me back and we're able to come to an agreement, I'll definitely be there."
Umenyiora was at the Super Bowl in New Orleans on behalf of MetLife to talk about next year's Super Bowl in the New York-New Jersey area. There's a chance that the Giants could be playing in that game. And now, it appears, there's a chance Umenyiora could be playing for the Giants while playing in that game.
"The door's still open there," he said. "It's something I would really relish that opportunity to finish my career there. And hopefully something will come out of that."