Because this was the first time we’ve spoke to Osi Umenyiora in person since the end of last season, his media session today covered a lot of ground. And because there are many who believe that his knee injury and his contract situation are intertwined – a perception he claimed is “false” – there are a lot of topics that go hand-in-hand but not entirely together.
So in the next few blog posts we’ll try to cover as much as we can of what he said in the 18 or so minutes he spoke with reporters at his locker.
First there was this: Umenyiora does not want to play for the Giants.
He said he’s looking forward to returning to the field to help his teammates, but he said he is so upset with the Giants – and by that he means the New York Football Giants Inc. – that he doesn’t think he’d be able to give a full effort if he had to.
“You just have to find exactly what it is that you’re playing for, a different motivation,” he said of putting aside his feelings of being slighted, lied to and underpaid. “If I was to sit over here and say ‘OK, I’m going to go out and play for the Giants organization,’ then I might not go out there and give it my all.”
He compared his situation – albeit grudgingly – to a solider who is asked who he is fighting for.
“I hate to compare football to war,” he said, “but they wouldn’t tell you they’re fighting for the United States government, they’ll tell you they’re fighting for the guys next to them, the guys who they bleed and sweat with. That’s exactly what I would say I’m playing for now. I love these guys … Maybe I’m not getting paid the way I would like to but I’m still going to go play because I love those guys.”