Osi Umenyiora reflects on Giants career

Osi Umenyiora wants to hear it from the Osi Umenyiora wants to hear it from the fans after the Giants beat the Saints, 52-27, at MetLife Stadium. (Dec. 9, 2012) Photo Credit: David Pokress

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While the Giants are coming to the end of their season, Osi Umenyiora is coming to the end of his tenure with the team.

A free agent after the completion of this season following 10 years with the Giants, Umenyiora on Monday said what everyone has known for some time now - that there is a "high probability" he will be playing elsewhere in 2013.

That means that Sunday's game against the Eagles 9and LeSean McCoy and, it turns out, Michael Vick) will likely be his final one for the Giants. Certainly it will be his final home game even if the Giants do make the playoffs.

"I think most people want to finish out their career with the team that they started [with]," Umenyiora said on Monday's conference call. "I fall into that category. I would have loved to have finished my career here, but everybody is not so fortunate. Everybody is not a Michael [Strahan]."

Last year, when the Giants made their Super Bowl run, Umenyiora was also believed to be in his final go-round with the team. He became reflective and at times wistful during that month, talking about wanting to appreciate what he thought might be his final days with teammates. It turned out he returned under a restructured deal for one final year.

Now, Umenyiora said he hasn't had much time for reflection. But he did stop to consider his place in franchise lore.

"If someone would have told you when I got drafted, somebody that no one knew about, that 10 years later I would still be here and have won a couple of Super Bowls and been to Pro Bowls and set records and all that stuff, you would have laughed," Umenyiora said. "I would have laughed. Everybody in there would have laughed If it does in fact turn out to be my last game, then it's been a wonderful, wonderful ride, man, and I'm just going to walk around New York with my head held high because it's been a great accomplishment playing for this organization and being able to do some of the things that we accomplished here as a team."

Umenyiora knows, too, that the season ending on a down note will make it less likely he returns and more likely that others go too.

"But where are they going to make the changes?" he asked. "There's no individual, there's no aspect of the team this year that stood out. People want to talk about the pass rush. Ok, well, maybe we didn't get 50 sacks like we did last year, but was the offense playing well? Was special teams playing well? There's nowhere that was up to par, up to the standards that we set last year. So if they're going to be making changes then they have to be wholesale changes. Everybody has to leave. There's nobody who played above average this year."

That's impossible. But there could be a decent amount of turnover.

"I'm sure it will be an incredible investigation," Tom Coughlin said of the offseason analysis of what went wrong and why Super Bowl-winning personnel a year ago flopped down the stretch this season.

With his contract expiring, Umenyiora is one of the most likely departures. So he's been polishing up his resume.

"I definitely have some very good years left in me," he said. "I haven't lost any explosion, haven't lost any speed, so as a pass rusher that's what you need. Thankfully I've been able to maintain that."

He also believes he can be a starter.

"I'm not a situational pass rusher," he said. "I think that's the word that's been going on around me for years because most people don't know what they're talking about. There is no football person who is going to actually sit there and watch tape and not think that I'm a starter in this league. I'm 100 percent sure of that."

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