Osi Umenyiora was wistful about his possible last days with the Giants during the Super Bowl run. Now, in what may be his last training camp with the only NFL team he's ever known, the defensive end has turned off the sentimentality.
"I don’t do that any more," he said. "The one thing I did learn about last year is it doesn’t matter what you think, there’s really no telling what’s going to happen here in the future. So it’s important that you just come in and show up and work as hard as you can and all those other things will take care of themselves. These are my guys, man. They’re going to be my good friends and teammates no matter what happens, and that’s the approach I take."
It makes for a happier Umenyiora and a quieter training camp here. Umenyiora agreed to restructure the final year of his contract – essentially getting a raise for 2012 – and will be a free agent at the end of the season. "When there’s no contract situation surrounding me, there’s not much to talk about,” Umenyiora said of the stillness of Albany. Still, all of the commotion around him and the team never really stopped either from performing well.
“I’ve never been one to focus on a contract situation when I’m actually out there on the football field, so I played for pride and I play for my teammates and for this coaching staff, and I think that is going to be the exact same,” Umenyiora said. “Now that I got a contract, when I stepped out there on the football field it was going to be the same thing.”
The big difference isn’t money but health. Umenyiora came into camp without any issues for the first time in years.
“These last couple of years I’ve been playing with little things here and there, but now, for the first time in a while, I feel relatively healthy, and I hope I am just able to maintain that throughout the year,” he said. He guessed that he hasn’t been this healthy coming into a season since 2006. “It’s been maybe about six years.”
So he’s healthy. And happy. What can Osi do for the Giants this year?
“There’s really no telling,” he said. “The sky’s the limit. At least I hope so. I’m just going to go out there and going to perform to the best of my abilities and hopefully I’ll be able to help this team win.”