Since returning from preseason knee surgery, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora has five sacks in three games, and looks as good as he has at any point in his career. But it was no surprise to Umenyiora that the numbers have been this good this quickly.
“I’ve been playing for so long, it really doesn’t matter,” said the 29-year-old pass rusher, who’s in his ninth NFL season. “You really don’t lose that. Only when I get old and slow will things be different.”
Umenyiora has bristled about playing under his current contract, which expires after the 2012 season. But he’s done griping about money. Especially on game day.
“Once I get on the field, honestly, that’s my sanctuary,” he said. “I feel protected. I don’t think of anything, just playing football, rushing the passer and playing football. I love to do it. Once I get out there, I just forget about everything else and play.”
Teammate Justin Tuck suggests Umenyiora’s performance is his biggest negotiating tool.
“If he keeps playing the way he’s playing,” Tuck said, “that’s the loudest voice he has.”