All that time on the bike, and now Osi Umenyiora is backpedaling from his demands.
Cleared to play physically, the disgruntled defensive end told The Associated Press in an email Sunday that he will return to the practice field Monday when the team begins its final full week of training camp.
Umenyiora, who reported to camp a day late, has not participated in any practices this summer as he nursed a sore left knee and also was believed to be protesting the Giants' refusal to give him a new contract or trade. Umenyiora gave an affidavit that the Giants had promised one or the other. He has spent much of each practice riding an exercise bicycle set up near the fields for injured players.
Umenyiora said he will play under his current contract, which has two years and $7.1 million remaining. He did say the Giants offered him incentives, but he turned them down.
"No deal has been reworked," he said in the email. "What has been offered has been unacceptable and shows they don't really respect the fact I sacrifice my health for the franchise. I will play under my current deal because I love and respect my coaches, my teammates, the fans, and myself. Not for those incentives."
Nowhere does Umenyiora suggest that he no longer wants a new contract or a trade, the latter of which is believed to be his preference. But his return to the field will be welcomed by the Giants as an end to the sideshow he had become.
It will be interesting to see where Umenyiora, who still might need to manage his knee injury, now fits into a defense that took a major step toward finding his replacement Saturday night. Second-year player Jason Pierre-Paul played a dominant first quarter with two sacks and a quarterback hurry against the Panthers. Pierre-Paul has been playing the right defensive end position usually manned by Umenyiora.
Before Umenyiora's email, coach Tom Coughlin told reporters on a conference call that the Giants "fully expect" Umenyiora to participate Monday. "But I don't know that for a fact," he said, because players were given Sunday off and he had not communicated with Umenyiora.