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Umenyiora tired of being portrayed as the bad guy
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Still hoping there’s a chance he will play for the New York Giants, two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora is annoyed he is being portrayed as a bad guy for asking the team to renegotiate his contract.
In an email to The Associated Press on Monday, Umenyiora says he is frustrated some people are criticizing him because he wants the team to rework a contract that will pay him slightly more than $7 million over the next two seasons.
The Giants have refused to redo Umenyiora’s deal. They have given his agents permission to work out a trade for the 29-year-old who tied for the team high with 11 1/2 sacks and had a league-high 10 forced fumbles last season.
The nine-year veteran, who held out for the opening day of training camp, noted that teams don’t hesitate to cut players after they are injured, or to ask them to take pay cuts when their roles are reduced. He also said they should reward players who are being underpaid.
The Giants cut veteran starting offensive linemen Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert last week, and had running back Brandon Jacobs, who last his starting job to Ahmad Bradshaw, rework his contract to take less money.
“It’s just frustrating to see how people react to one thing, and not the other,” Umenyiora said. “Just be fair.”
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Monday night that he hopes the Umenyiora situation can be resolved and his veteran can get back on the field with the Giants. He said a hip injury that bothered Umenyiora last season is not the reason he is not practicing.
Umenyiora reported to training camp Saturday. He took a physical Sunday but did not practice with the team. He has attended meetings.
“What really annoys me is the hypocrisy of people clamoring for my head for asking for a new deal or to be traded,” Umenyiora wrote. “Saying I have 2 years left on my deal. These contracts only mean something to us? Where is O'Hara? Where is Seubert? True (AP) _ inspirational football players.
“They were cut after being injured,” he said. “They have years left on their deal. Why is Jacobs asked to take a pay cut? He has years left on his deal. The fact is in the business we are in, if you get injured, or they feel like you underperformed, they cut you without hesitation. But if you clearly outplay your contract, and ask for something to be done, you’re a bad guy and not a team player. It’s ridiculous.”
Charles Johnson of the Carolina Panthers recently signed a six-year, $72 million contract with $21 million in guaranteed money. The five-year veteran also had 11 1/2 sacks last season.
“How does a guy who had one good year (no disrespect to Charles Johnson) sign a deal and make more than both me and (Justin) Tuck combined?” Umenyiora added in the email. “It’s not right. Everyone in this business understands that is exactly what it is. Business. And just like none of us get upset when our teammates are released due to business decisions, the teams also don’t get upset when something like this happens.”
By Donald Lambro
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