Osi Umenyiora calls for players to be more like Tim Tebow

Osi Umenyiora stands in front of a Giants

Osi Umenyiora stands in front of a Giants mosaic made up of over 20,000 M&M's candies at M&M'S World in Times Square. (July 24, 2012) (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

Osi Umenyiora had some advice for the rest of the NFL, particularly the portion of players who ran afoul of the law this offseason.

His suggestion: Be more like Tim.

"I know everybody likes to make fun of Tim Tebow, talk about him, but he sets an outstanding example," Umenyiora said Tuesday. "I think if more people would focus and try to be like him and carry themselves the way he does, I think this league could be better."

The Giants' defensive end spoke at M&M's World in Manhattan, where he was introducing personalized candies. Last week, when he returned from a trip to Nigeria, he commented on Twitter that he came home to find that "half the NFL has been arrested."

There were more than 30 arrests of NFL players this offseason, including the Giants' David Diehl, who was charged with drunken driving.

"I don't know what happened," Umenyiora said of the arrests. "My phone wasn't working over there and as soon as I turned my phone on, all these reports started coming in about all these people getting arrested. For the life of me, I can't understand it. It's just ridiculous. People need to be more focused and more grateful for what it is that they have. Coming from where I came from and seeing what I saw, all that poverty, people who have nothing, they would cut off both their legs to be given the opportunity that these people have. To be messing around like that is real unfortunate."

As for his own opportunities this season, Umenyiora was excited (and admitted that it is a "little weird") to be headed to Albany for training camp this week without much commotion. After years of contract squabbles, Umenyiora is in the last year of his ill-advised deal and received a restructured raise.

After three injuries last season, including surgeries on his hip and knee, he's feeling strong and fit. Umenyiora usually heads to camp -- or in the case of last year, doesn't -- escorted by a posse of story lines, dramas and controversies. This year?

"It's all M&M's, man," he said.

Sweet.

Of course, this brief Era of Umenyiora Stability will not last forever. He will be a free agent after this season and could be somewhere else in 2013. Where -- and for how much and how long -- will depend immensely on his performance in 2012.

"There's no type of contract pressure that is going to limit the way I play," he said. "I feel like I'm the best defensive end in the league and when I go out there on the football field, I feel like I must perform that way."

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