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Osi Umenyiora wants to return but says Giants hold cards

Osi Umenyiora of the New York Giants films

Osi Umenyiora of the New York Giants films the crowd during the ticker-tape victory parade down the Canyon of Heros in New York City. (Feb. 7, 2012) Credit: Getty

Amid a whirlwind of confetti and screams, Osi Umenyiora was forced to step out of the moment and think about his future.

As he walked off the field at the conclusion of Tuesday's Super Bowl celebration at MetLife Stadium, the Giants’ defensive end was peppered with questions about his tenuous status with the team.

He reiterated he wants to be a Giant, but the ball is not in his court, he said.

Umenyiora, 30, who began the season wanting a new contract or to be traded, is under contract for one more year and is due to make just under $4 million. He held out briefly at the beginning of training camp in order to get a new deal but ultimately returned after a day. He didn't participate in drills upon his return and later underwent knee surgery and missed the first three regular-season games.

Asked if he will allow himself to enjoy the afterglow of the Super Bowl XLVI win over the Patriots or immediately focus on business, Umenyiora said: "Nah, nah. Not back to business at all. We're going to enjoy this one, we're going to love every minute of it, and business will take care of itself later."

"Ain't no calming down. I'm partying. For a month straight," he added.

Umenyiora said he plans to "relax, have a good time, enjoy myself" over the next few weeks before he starts thinking about his future.

So what exactly are the chances that he'll be back with the Giants?

"Oh, I don't know," said Umenyiora, who had nine sacks and 25 tackles in nine games. "You have to ask them that, man. I'm still under contract here, so, at the end of the day, they're going to have to make that decision. It's not going to be on me."

Conventional wisdom says Umenyiora likely won't return next season in a backup role to Jason Pierre-Paul without a major pay raise. But the veteran defensive end said he'd love to be back with Big Blue next season.

"Of course. I mean, come on, look at this, man," he said, gesturing to crowd. "We can win again. But you know, it's business though."


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