INDIANAPOLIS — Though he stopped short of promising DE Osi Umenyiora his starting job back, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he recently spoke to the former Pro Bowl pick and assured him he is an integral part of the team.
“Osi’s a big part of our team, and we expect that he’ll come back and work as hard as he can and be a big part of our defensive rejuvenation,” Coughlin said. “Osi’s a big part of our plan.”
Umenyiora might be a big part of the plan, but he isn’t guaranteed the starting spot he desires. When asked if he would hand Umenyiora the starting job, Coughlin responded: “I don’t know how you do that. A field is a field, and competition is good.”
Umenyiora had recently caused a stir when he threatened to retire rather than return as a backup, and his media offensive didn’t please Coughlin, who said the two had cleared the air in their meeting.
“He should come in and talk to me,” the coach said. “Which he did do, and we had a good talk.”
Coughlin said he didn’t foresee this developing into a Jeremy Shockey situation (the Giants traded the former Pro Bowl tight end to the Saints in 2008 after a rift with the team) and he believes “Osi wants to be a part of our team.”
— Jason Feller