Osi Umneyiora is expected to sign with the Atlanta Falcons today, signifying the end of his tenure with the New York Giants. Photo courtesy of AP
The New York Giants seem to be moving on in life without Osi Umenyiora. The two-time Super Bowl winner for big blue hit free agency this off season and has made a complete 180 degree turn in his mentality. The Giants have zero interest in re-signing him.
With health issues and younger pass rushers in the stable and more possibly on the way via the April draft, the team seems to be content in moving forward. As for Umenyiora, he has continued to talk while the Giants remain silent in regards to him.
He has publicly stated in recent weeks that he will be Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. This past week, he has said he would like to win in Atlanta. In all fairness, he is from that area and has a home there. While he said that there was "nothing better than winning in NY", he went on to state that, for him, there would nothing better than winning "here at home in Atlanta".
This stand is a far cry from his comments in January where he said he was open to returning to the Giants or possibly staying in NY with the Jets. So why the change? The reason is simple. The Giants are moving on without him and have made that clear by not offering a contract to their former pass rusher.
Having realized this, Umenyiora has had to enter the business side of the NFL and market himself. After all, no NFL team looking for an aging pass rusher wants to hear that player talk about how he hopes to get over his nagging injuries and possibly play the whole season semi-healthy. No!
They want to hear the talk of bravado. They want the confidence that comes with two Super Bowl rings. They want to hear it and hope that those words translate into titles for their team. Umenyiora has a small window remaining in his career. In that span of time, he has to make as much money as he can.
We would all do the same if we were in his place. When the business end of sports hits home, it gets ugly, but it can't be taken personally. There will be plenty of time for Umenyiora to have his time to look back on glory days in New York when his career is long over. The fans will gladly embrace him then, too.
For now, however, he has to be prepared to move on. Hyping himself and convincing another team he is worth the massive deal he is asking for is all necessary at this point. While the Giants aren't buying it or him, at least, for his sake, someone is.