New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiorawalks of the field...

New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiorawalks of the field after the 36-25 loss to Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (Oct. 9, 2011) Credit: Joe Epstein

Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora counts former teammates Antonio Pierce and Michael Strahan among his best friends, but the recent criticisms the players-turned-TV commentators leveled at current Giants Justin Tuck and Brandon Jacobs for not playing through injuries rubbed Umenyiora the wrong way.

"It's disappointing,'' Umenyiora said. "It's very, very disappointing. I can understand when the media does it. I'm OK with that. That's their job.

"These other guys have played the game, so they know what it's like. To hear them come out and say some of the things they said is very, very disappointing and makes me question how real and how authentic they are because they know better than to come out and say some of the things they've said."

Umenyiora said he hasn't reached out to either Strahan or Pierce but said he plans to scold them the next time he sees them.

"If I see whoever it is that comes out and says these things, I have to let them know that I think that's just ridiculous," Umenyiora said. "Because all these guys who are saying these things went through the same things we're going through. It's crazy to me."

Earlier this week, Pierce suggested the injuries to Tuck (groin/neck) and Jacobs (knee) shouldn't have kept them out of last Sunday's loss to Seattle. Yet neither player could practice again this week, and on Friday, both officially were listed as out of Sunday's game against the Bills at MetLife Stadium.

The fact that Pierce's career was ended by a neck injury makes his criticism of Tuck, who came back too early after suffering a neck burner, all the more surprising. It's one thing to question a player's skill or execution, but entering into the realm of playing with varying degrees of injuries is far more subjective.

"You can't question a guy's toughness,'' Umenyiora said. "You don't know what he's going through on the football field. You have to play when you feel able to go out there and contribute. And for these guys to come out there and attack a Justin or other guys like that is just ridiculous. They need to stop it and sit down somewhere."

Umenyiora said he will remain friends with both players and suggested they simply might be serving the masters who sign their checks now. Strahan works for Fox Sports and Pierce is an ESPN analyst.

"Sometimes you get in a [TV network] meeting and you have to say something," Umenyiora said. "I've been in some of these production meetings, and the producer will tell you to create controversy and say some things you otherwise wouldn't have said. So I get that also. But it is disappointing."

So blame Pierce's outburst on ESPN?

With a laugh, Umenyiora said, "Definitely."'

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