GIANTS' MATHIAS KIWANUKA RIDING HIGH, LINVAL JOSEPH
"What a difference a year makes — at least for Mathias Kiwanuka. This time
last year, the Giants linebacker was
battling a career-threatening neck injury. He was so unsure of his future that
he began a list of possible careers after football.
Now, the 28-year-old is celebrating a Super Bowl he won in his hometown of
Indianapolis and has a baby on the way.
“There’s no way to describe it,” Kiwanuka told The Star-Ledger after a MAB
Celebrity Services appearance in Franklin Lakes. “I’ve been blessed by god to be
able to continue to do this. There’s no other reason why going all the stuff
that I went through last year and then having the season go up and down, moving
positiojns and all that stuff. I just keep the faith and keep believing. I
believe God put me in this situation for a reason so I’m happy about it.”
After the Giants slipped into the playoffs on their final chance with a Week
17 victory over the Cowboys, it was Kiwanuka who declared that the Giants were a
Super Bowl team as they prepared for the Falcons in the Wild Card Round.
It was a bold statement that proved true, but even he’s surprised by how it
“Every time I look at the situations I think of how so many things had to go
right to make it happen, but it did,” the linebacker said. “It shows that we
always have a chance. It makes me look forward to next year. It doesn’t what we
come into the season looking like or what we do during the regular season as
long as we fight in the playoffs, we can always win it.”
The Giants front office and coaching staff is already looking forward to next
year beginning with the scouting combine in Indianapolis and Kiwanuka, a X-year
veteran, knows what to expect: changes.
“That’s what they’re supposed to do; that’s their jobs,” he said. “We
understand that as players. Every year they’re going to try to get the bigger,
faster, cheaper guys so we got to make sure we do our part to make ourselves
more valuable than anybody who’s coming in.
“We just won the Super Bowl, but this a ‘what have you done for me lately?’
and ‘what can you do for me now?’ business. We understand that. We got to fight
every year. Everybody does.”
One of the decisions the Giants front office has to make is whether to extend
Osi Umenyiora’s contract. The defensive end has one year left on his deal, but
has voiced that he would like a new contract or a trade.
“It’d be tough (not to have Umenyiora),” he said. “I’m not even going to lie.
People know what they hear about him in the media, but what they don’t realize
is he’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. He’s one of the hardest workers
that the Giants organization has ever seen so personally I would want him back
at all costs, but if he goes somewhere else it better be for big money because
he deserves it.”
Linval Joseph was on crutches with his left foot wrapped on Saturday after he
had surgery to remove a cyst on his ankle Tuesday. The cyst had been on a nerve
for four months and half of Joseph’s foot, including his toes, was numb for the
duration but didn’t miss any games.
“When it first happened, I got it drained and it didn’t work so I just knew
that I needed some time off of it to let it heal,” the defensive tackle said.
“Now that the season’s over with and we won the Super Bowl, I’m glad I didn’t
get it done earlier because everything happens for a reason. I’m just glad we
won the Super Bowl and I got it removed. I can feel my toes and I just feel like
everything’s going great right now.”
Rocky Bernard will be an unrestricted free agent on March 13 and wants to
return to the Giants.
“I definitely want to be back,” the 10-year veteran said. “We got a good
team, great front office, great coaches. Why wouldn’t I want to be back? We can
Bernard, 33 in April, hasn’t had talks with the Giants.
“If they want me back, I’ll be ready to go again,” he said. “We’ll see where
it goes. I don’t really have any expectations. But we’ll see where it goes.”