Reese says Giants are better with Osi, but leaves options open

Osi Umenyiora, left, and Devin Thomas of the

Osi Umenyiora, left, and Devin Thomas of the New York Giants celebrate with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Giants defeated the Patriots by a score of 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI. (Feb. 5, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

Jerry Reese appeared on ESPN New York 98.7 today to discuss several topics, and whaddaya know, the issue of Osi Umenyiora came up. Not that Reese gave much insight into the ongoing battle between the defensive end clearly trying to wiggle his way into a trade and the team that clearly wants him to stick around (at least for the next 10 months).

“I’m not going to discuss Osi’s contract situation but I can say this: The New York Giants were a better football team with Osi Umenyiora on our team,” Reese said. “We respect him as a football player. Our goal is to have Osi play football for the New York Giants and retire as a Giant. That’s what we would like to do first. All of our options are open like I said before. But Osi makes us a better football team, I do know that.”

It’s interesting that Reese is saying all options are open again because that comes as a clear signal to other teams that if they want Osi they can just pick up the phone. If trading his wasn’t an option, then not all of the options would be open. You follow the logic.

Anyway, Reese also said that he does not take the negotiations with Umenyiora, which have sometimes spilled out publicly, personally. That includes last year’s sworn affidavit that essentially called Reese a liar and, well, Osi really hasn’t said much other than that that Reese would take personally. Anyway …

“I don’t carry grudges,” Reese said. “That’s part of the job. In the offseason there’s always controversy about contracts … It’s never personal. I don’t think it’s personal with respect to players and it’s definitely not personal with respect to me.

“We’ll get through this and we’ll see what happens moving forward, but it’s just part of the business,” he said later. “It’s not a big problem for me to have people say things. I think sometimes people say things they really don’t mean but everyone is trying to make as much money as they can for themselves and their families and everybody understands that. It’s not personal.”

Reese also touched on a few other subjects, most of which he has addressed previously. But he did say that he thinks the Giants’ running game will be better in 2012 compared to 2011 when it finished last in the NFL.

“People say it’s a passing league,” Reese said. “I still think you have to run the ball … We’re the Giants. I don’t think we’re ever going to go all the way to a passing team. I think we like to run the ball first and play-action pass. That’s who we are. But it’s really nice to have a quarterback who if you have to throw it 40 times the guy can throw it and do a good job for you.”

And Reese also spoke about the possibility of Victor Cruz appearing on “Dancing With the Stars.” Reese said he thought Cruz was smart for not participating in the show at this point in his career.

“Victor is a smart guy,” Reese said. “I think Victor wants to focus on football more than anything else right now. He had one good year. One good year don’t make you a great football player. It means you had one good year … Maybe at some point later on in his career he might be able to that but right now I think he’s focused on just trying to be a good football player.”

Tags: Jerry Reese , Osi Umenyiora , Victor Cruz

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