For yet another offseason, defensive end Osi Umenyiora is at odds with general manager Jerry Reese over his contract.
But Reese says no matter what is said -- whether it be in an affidavit as part of a players’ lawsuit against the NFL during the lockout or in quotes to reporters – it’s never personal.
“I don’t carry grudges,” Reese said in an interview with Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco on ESPN New York 98.7. “In the offseason, there is always some controversy about contracts. It is not just one person, it can be several different people with contract situations. That is part of my job, it is never personal, I don’t think it is personal with respect to players and it definitely is not personal with respect to me.”
“I call it offseason chatter,” he continued. “There is always some chatter about different situations about contracts during the offseason. That is what happened. It is never personal with me.”
Umenyiora’s contract situation is back in the spotlight again after the defensive end said last Wednesday that he did not believe the Giants could give him the contract extension he wants. He is seeking an extension similar to the ones recently signed by Philadelphia’s Trent Cole (four-year extension worth $48.525 million, including $15 million guaranteed) and Indianapolis’ Robert Mathis (four-year extension worth $36 million with $17 million guaranteed).
Umenyiora, 30, is entering the final year of his deal worth just under $4 million. Reese said on Saturday that the Giants have offered Umenyiora an extension for the last two years.
The defensive end countered by telling various newspapers that the team offered him “half” of the $10.95 million in guaranteed money Mathias Kiwanuka recently received as part of a three-year $21.75 million extension.
“I’m not going to discuss Osi’s contract situation with you guys,” Reese said when asked about Umenyiora’s contract. “But I can say this to you though -- the New York Giants are a better football team with Osi Umenyiora on our team. We respect him as a football player. Our goal is to have Osi play football with the New York Giants and retire as a Giant. That is what we would like to do first.”
“All of our options are open as I have said before but Osi makes us a better football team, I do know that,” he added.
And as far as Umenyiora alleging that Reese promised him a new deal in an affidavit that was part of the players’ lawsuit against the NFL last year during the lockout, Reese said it’s all part of the business of being a general manager.
“We will get through this and we will see what happens moving forward,” he said. “It is not a big problem for me to have guys say some things. I think sometimes some people say things that they obviously really don’t mean. Everybody is trying to make as much money as they can for themselves and their families and everybody understands that and it is not personal.”
REESE’S PIECES: Reese also said in the interview that he is confident about the Giants’ chances again.
“I think we can be good, I really do,” he said. “I like our roster right now. We’ll continue to tinker around with the roster. But I think we have a chance to be really good again.”
Reese said he will tune into “Saturday Night Live” this weekend to catch Eli Manning's live television acting debut.
“He is a funny guy,” Reese said. “You guys are not around him that much but he can be pretty funny.”
When told by Stephen A. that Victor Cruz should appear on “Dancing With The Stars,” Reese said Cruz did the right thing by turning down the popular show and focusing on football.
“Victor looks like he is a pretty good dancer,” Reese said. “I think Victor wants to focus on football more than anything else right now. He had one good year. One good year doesn’t make you a great football player. It means you had one good year. And he is a smart young man and wants to focus on what is most important and that is football.”