One day after Jason Pierre-Paul ripped apart the Carolina Panthers for two first-quarter sacks and a pressured pass that resulted in Michael Boley’s 56-yard interception return for a touchdown, Osi Umenyiora announced he would return to practice.
Connect the dots, anyone?
Not that the ninth-year veteran Umenyiora would ever worry about any second-year defensive end taking his spot — even one as gifted as Pierre-Paul — but the announcement did produce food for thought. Umenyiora, who has attended all but the first session of training camp but sat out drills in a squabble over a new contract, only Friday rejected some new incentives the Giants thought might sweeten his original deal.
Umenyiora told the Associated Press that the incentives, reportedly ranging from $400,000 to $1 million based on playing time and finishing in the top 10 in certain defensive categories, were insufficient, as he was looking for guaranteed money. But he said he has decided to return to practice and play under the terms of his original contract.
“No deal has been reworked,” Umenyiora emailed to the AP. “What has been offered has been unacceptable and shows they don’t really respect the fact I sacrifice my health for the franchise. I will play under my current deal because I love and respect my coaches, my teammates, the fans and myself. Not for those incentives.”
The right knee he claimed was also keeping him out of drills has been deemed sound by a specialist in Atlanta and by the Giants’ team physicians, also. Doctors indicated to him that surgery is not necessary, and he can practice as long as he gives it proper rest and treatment.
If nothing else, Pierre-Paul’s performance gave the coaching staff comfort in knowing that whatever happens with Umenyiora going forward, there is a legitimate second option to provide the weak side pass rush. Pierre-Paul manhandled veteran left tackle Jordan Gross for two sacks and almost a third. He then pressured Jimmy Clausen into a horrible throw that Boley easily picked off and ran back through an open field.