Mikey G.'s out at the scouting combine, which is a good thing because Tom Coughlin is there, too. The coach talked to the press a little while ago, and confirmed that disgruntled DE Osi Umenyiora indeed had a sit-down with himself and Jerry Reese the other day.
Apparently, what Reese told Umenyiora about his potential return to starting status didn't appease him. And you get the idea that Coughlin's opinions on the matter didn't do much to advance that goal, if that is the goal, at all.
"I don’t know how you do that," the Giants’ coach said of any starting guarantees Umenyiora said would be required before he deigned to don a uniform in 2010. "Our field is the field, and competition is good. It’s like we tell everybody: 'Go earn it.'"
Hmmmm. A unique idea, right? Especially for someone who lost their job at a critical juncture of the season because he couldn't stop the run.
Umenyiora has also met with new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, Coughlin said. But nobody seems to be in a placating mood. Not after 8-8, that is.
"I just reassured Osi our expectations for him were very high," Coughlin said. "He’s an integral part of our plans and of our defensive football team. Osi is a big part of our team and the word ‘team’ is critical to me.”
The coach was none too happy about Umenyiora's Super Bowl press tour, where he freely aired his gripes to print and radio reporters alike.
"Naturally, it did," Coughlin said. "It should start with me; he should come in and talk to me, which he did do, and we had a good talk but that’s where it’ll stop."
I'm not sure we've heard the end of this yet. With the offseason program set to start March 15, it'll be interesting to see if Umenyiora shows up and exhibits the kind of team unity Coughlin seeks. The defensive end said at season's end that he'd rather "retire" than come back as a part-time player, but something tells me there are more than three million reasons for him to stick around. Oh, and the Giants have no intentions of trading him.
"Osi’s a big part of our team and we expect he’ll come back, work as hard as he can and be a big part of our defensive rejuvenation, if you will," Coughlin said. "Competition is a very good thing. We’ve been able to, over the course of the last few years, have a very good system whereby we waved our defensive linemen in. It helped us in our Super Bowl year and we continue to do that. But Osi’s a big part of our plans."
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