Giants' Cofield says LBJ should stay put

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Another Giant came out and said NBA free agent LeBron James should stay in Cleveland, but this time it's understandable. Defensive tackle Barry Cofield has a pretty strong connection to that part of the world.

"Hopefully staying in Cleveland, no better place in the world," Cofield said of James on Friday. "I was born and raised in Cleveland, so I absolutely hope that he stays."

Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, from Auburn, Ala., raised hackles earlier this week when he said of James, "Personally, I think he should stay in Cleveland."

Cofield said the suspense over where James would land is a positive thing.

"I think it's good for the NBA," Cofield said. "I'm not so sure that all these guys aren't holding off on their decisions to build interest for the league, because odds are some of these guys are going to stay where they are, and they know that right now. But it makes it more interesting when the free-agent frenzy brings attention to the league."

Ultimately, Cofield said he would welcome LeBron to the club of Cleveland expats in New York City if he chooses to come here.

"It's an exciting time for him and an exciting time for us here, too," Cofield said. "I'm a Cleveland guy, but if he gets the honor of coming to play on this stage that'll be great for him and I'll be happy for him either way. Anyone that plays here enjoys it."

Jane McManus is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow her on Twitter.

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