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Falcons' Osi Umenyiora gets welcome back and a sack

Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora #50 of the

Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora #50 of the Atlanta Falcons shares a laugh with Eli Manning #10, Jason Pierre-Paul #90, Mathias Kiwanuka #94 and defensive tackle Markus Kuhn #78 of the Giants at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 5, 2014. Credit: Mike Stobe

When the visitors' locker room opened to the media after Sunday's 30-20 Giants victory over Atlanta at MetLife Stadium, Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora already was dressed, and looked as if he wanted to slip quietly out the back door.

Umenyiora, who was welcomed back to the Meadowlands with a pregame video tribute, appeared to be a bit thinner than when he used to suit up for the Giants, and seemed a little more humble. He had no interest in talking about his first sack of the season, a second-quarter takedown of former teammate Eli Manning.

"Nothing," Umenyiora said when asked what the sack meant to him. "I would have much rather got the win. That [sack] wasn't what we came out here for. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get it done."

The Falcons have fallen to 2-3, and Umenyiora, a former All-Pro, has been little more than a bit player.

After starting 13 of 16 games for the Falcons last season, and recording 71/2 sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles, Umenyiora -- who had 75 sacks in nine seasons with the Giants -- has become a pass- rushing specialist for Atlanta. Including Sunday, he has only seven tackles this season.

Is he happy with his role and playing time?

"I can't make no comments on that," he said. "Whatever this team asks me to do is what I'm going to do. It doesn't matter if I'm happy or not. Just whatever they ask me to do, I'm going to go out there and do it."

Umenyiora, 32, insists he hasn't changed since joining the Falcons as a free agent in 2013. And he believes he could contribute more if the Falcons asked it of him.

"I'm not a different player at all, man," he said. "It's just, you know, sometimes things happen, sometimes they don't. But I'm a little bit more mature. That's all I can say."

Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka relished getting a chance to catch up with his former teammate after the game.

"It was obviously emotional," Kiwanuka said. "I watched the whole tribute to him before the game. I forgot that I was supposed to be out there stretching. It was good. I like the fact that we do that, that they recognize players when they come back. He was a guy who gave his heart and his soul to this organization."

But when Umenyiora sacked Manning for a 7-yard loss late in the second quarter, the fans in attendance didn't think about all that. As Umenyiora celebrated, most of the 80,307 in attendance booed loudly.

Umenyiora reveled in it. "They're supposed to do that, man," he said. "I'm on the opposing team. I'm sacking their quarterback, they're supposed to boo me. I appreciated it."

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