GIANTS' OSI UMENYIORA UNCERTAIN IF HE'LL BE TRADED DURING NFK DRAFT
"Osi Umenyiora claims he isn't sleeping much these days because, like every
draft-eligible player not named Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, he's unsure
which team will be his employer by the end of the week.
Right now, it's the Giants. But with
an ever-contentious contract situation heading into its final season, Umenyiora
knows this could be the best time for the team to get something instead of
"If they make me play out the seventh year of a seven-year deal, that's going
to be rough right there," the two-time Pro Bowl selection, who had nine sacks in
nine regular-season games and 3½ more in the postseason, said today at the NFL's
"Play 60" event at Chelsea Waterside Park, while making an appearance for Kinect
for Xbox. "I don't even know if that's a possibility at this point, but you can
never say never. Hopefully something will be done here. If I have to come back
and play (under his current deal), I really don't know how I'm going to react to
Umenyiora added, "This is the last year of my deal and, given the current
circumstances, I think maybe the Giants would probably think I wouldn't be back
after this year. So if they're going to get something, now would be the time to
Last week, general manager Jerry Reese said there's been "a little bit of
talk" between the front office and Umenyiora's camp, though indications are the
"little" part of the statement is the most accurate part. In other words,
there's nothing cooking there, as Umenyiora confirmed there have been only
"preliminary" discussions and no "serious talks" about an extension or
Umenyiora is scheduled to earn $3.975 million in base salary this upcoming
season as part of the six-year extension he signed in December 2005. Umenyiora,
who parted ways with his first agent a little more than a year after signing the
contract, has said in the past he didn't understand it was in actuality a
seven-year deal because he was already under contract for 2006.
Asked if he expects to redo his contract with a new team before a trade would
be completed, Umenyiora gave an interesting and telling answer.
"At this point, it wouldn't even matter. I would go somewhere else and play
under my current deal, I really would," he said. "So whatever happens, man, I
think this year is going to be my best year as a professional. I truly, truly
feel that way. So whether it's with the Giants or somewhere else, I'll be all
right. I'll be all right."
Umenyiora, 30, said he took about a week to celebrate the Super Bowl XLVI
he vowed he would. After that, he worked on getting into what he described
as "some of the best shape of my career right now." He's eager to play and
perform - on all three downs.
Though he stopped short of saying he'd prefer it to be elsewhere if he has to
play under his current deal.
"I wouldn't go so far as to say that. But I definitely feel like I'm an
every-down player," he said. "I feel like I'm one of the most dangerous
defensive ends in football. Not the best but the most dangerous. There's a
difference there. I want to be able to play, I want to be able to lay it out
there for everybody.
"There's this perception that I don't play the run (well) and all that stuff
and that just makes me so angry because there's no evidence on tape, especially
over these last two years, that that's true. So the fact everyone keeps saying
that, I just want to go out there and prove I can definitely do that."
Umenyiora was demoted in 2009 because of sub-par play against the run. After
that season, even
he admitted he played "terrible" football at times.
But since then, Umenyiora has worked to be a well-rounded player. And as he
showed with a forced fumble that saved a touchdown in the Divisional Round
victory over the Packers, he's still very much a difference maker.
"(The Giants) are really starting to view me as (solely) a pass rusher,
especially with the emergence of Jason Pierre-Paul and obviously you know how
(Justin) Tuck plays," he said. "There are a lot of issues we have to work
through here. There really are. But hopefully we’ll be able to come to some sort
One of those "issues" is Umenyiora's belief the Giants have soiled his
reputation as a run defender and thus hurt his value.
"I think definitely people are like, ‘Well, if the team’s only going to put
him out there in passing situations then obviously they’re doing it for a
reason,'" he said. "I mean, it can’t be the fact Jason and Tuck are just
absolutely monsters against the run. It must be the fact I’m terrible at this.
You know what I mean?"
This all seems to be coming to a head at some point or another. If it's not
this week via a trade, the Giants will have to figure out a way to please
Umenyiora before he plans on returning.
"As soon as those things are taken care of I’ll be more than glad or more
than happy to join my teammates," he said. "I miss them, I want to be around
them, but they definitely understand what’s going on with my situation, the
coaches understand what’s going on with my situation and more importantly I
think the owners and management understand what’s going on with my
"So at the end of the day I think something is going to happen and it just
remains to see what that is."
* * * *
Umenyiora was serious when it came to business but was having fun with the
kids on hand for the "Play 60" event. The players there were stressing the
importance of staying active. Umenyiora and Luck both mentioned Kinect for Xbox
360 as a way to play video games but still remain active because of the
controller-free play that uses one's whole body.
"I just ran the little 200 meter hurdles against these 11-year olds and I
won. And I was so proud of myself," Umenyiora said. "I was talking trash to them
about how good I am and how much faster I am than these 10-year-old kids."GIANTS HOST MORE NON-LOCAL TALENT AS FIRST ROUND APPROAHCES
"Last week, we gave you a working list
of players who had visited the Giants. Well, as we’re now a little more than
a day to the first pick in the NFL Draft, it’s time to extend that list by nine
names who visited the team at some point over the past month.
These names are courtesy of people informed of the players’ visits. Those
people requested anonymity because they were not to be divulged publicly.
A reminder: the Giants don’t use these non-local visits (of which they’re
allowed up to 30) as smoke screens. If they bring guys in, they’re interested in
them. Or at the very least, they’re looking for more information on heath or
behavioral concerns. So keep these names (and the ones from last week) in mind
once the draft gets underway:
Iowa CB Shaun Prater: A projected mid-round pick, he had a
productive junior season in which he grabbed four interceptions before recording
only one last season. He had a good week of practice at the East-West Shrine
game and ran a tad over or under 4.4 at his pro day (depending on whose watch
you believe). Prater had a knee issue that prevented him from working at the
Scouting Combine, though that doesn’t seem to be a major red flag at this point.
Doesn’t have ideal size (5-10, 185 pounds) and needs work with his press/man
coverage, according to a few scouting reports.
USC TE/FB Rhett Ellison: Converted to fullback last season
for the Trojans. Not the most gifted of athletes, per scouting reports, but an
extremely hard worker and a great leader -- so much so USC renamed
the team’s annual leadership award for him. Ellison had 43 catches and five
touchdowns in his final two seasons in college combined. At 6-5, 250 pounds, he
sounds like he needs to add to his frame to play tight end at the next level. A
projected mid-round pick.
USC DT DaJohn Harris: The projections here are all over the
place because he didn’t work out at the Scouting Combine after doctors found a
hole in his heart, a result of a condition known as patent foramen ovale. Harris
said his cardiologist cleared him and sent letters to all 32 teams telling him
he was not a medical risk. Still, the Giants probably brought him in to get
their own doctors to examine him. Harris had a heckuva performance at the Shrine
Game and should hear his name by the early part of Saturday, when Rounds 4-7
will be held.
McNeese State CB Janzen Jackson: A ton of baggage here for
this transfer from Tennessee, who was arrested on attempted armed robbery as a
freshman (the charges were later dropped) and reportedly failed a few drug
tests. "I made some mistakes, and I admit I made them," Jackson said during an
interview with WWL 870 in New Orleans, per
this story from the Times Free Press in Chattanooga, Tenn. "I was young. I
was away from home, and I didn't make the right choices back then, and I paid
the price. It humbles you no matter how good you think you are." Janzen can be
good, as he had five interceptions with the Vols in 2010 and added three with
McNeese State last season. He didn’t impress physically at the Combine or his
pro day, according
to Pro Football Weekly, so he surely had a lot of convincing to do when he
sat down with the Giants.
Kentucky LB Dan Trevathan: Your turn to play the role of
scout as you
watch Trevathan work out at the Scouting Combine. You got a lot out of that,
right? Sure you did. Ah, the Combine. Anyway, Trevathan has good speed,
according to reports, and was a very productive player last season but is a bit
undersized at 6-1, 232 pounds. Jerry Reese said last year he couldn’t ignore
Greg Jones’ production and perhaps it’ll be the same case with Trevathan, who
last season had 143 tackles (11 1/2 tackles for loss), three sacks, four
interceptions, five passes defensed and five fumbles forced. He’s projected as a
Texas A&M CB Terrence Frederick: Judging from
his Twitter timeline, it looks like he was in with the big group of players
on April 15-16. Frederick ran in the low 4.4s at his pro day after being clocked
over 4.5 at the Scouting Combine. He had only four interceptions in his college
career. As for his ability, Pro
Football Weekly had a nice breakdown on him and believes he needs to work on
his technique and physical play. He’ll likely be a late-round pick.
Harvard DE Josue Ortiz: I forgot to mention him last week,
was the first to report his visit with the Giants (I think). For the skinny
on Ortiz, check out this good
story from Newsday’s Bob Glauber.
Kentucky S Winston Guy: A late-round pick or perhaps an
undrafted free agent, he’s a physical safety who has 120 tackles last season.
He’s also played some cornerback.
Tennessee State LB Rico Council: Not a ton of information to
be found on him because he’s projected as an undrafted free agent. Frankly,
will gladly take that after a near-death experience when he was shot in the jaw
three years ago.
* * * *
So to review, what follows is a list of guys who have visited the Giants,
based on our reports and those of others. They’re ranked, as best I could, by
projected order of selection:
Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower
Alabama CB Dre
Clemson TE Dwayne
Iowa CB Shaun Prater
Arizona State CB Omar Bolden
Oklahoma OT Donald Stephenson
Texas A&M RB Cyrus Gray
USC TE/FB Rhett Ellison
USC DT DaJohn Harris
Fresno State WR Devon Wylie
McNeese State CB Janzen Jackson
Cincinnati TE Adrien Robinson
Southern Miss QB Austin Davis
Idaho LB Kory Toomer
Coastal Carolina CB Josh Norman
Harvard DE Josue Ortiz
Duke S Matt Daniels
Mississippi State OT James Carmon
Utah State RB Michael Smith
Central Florida TE Adam Nissley
Wisconsin TE Jake Byrne
A reminder that this isn’t an all-inclusive list of guys who interest the
Giants. They’ll obviously draft players who didn’t make trips to East
Rutherford. But these names help give a feel for some players they’re targeting
as well as positions they’re eying at certain points in the draft.
* * * *
And finally, I don’t know if Huntingdon (Ala.) College WR Cody Pearcy visited
the Giants but we do know he wowed one of the team’s scouts, Joe Collins.
How do we know that? Well, for one, Bill Parcells mentioned Pearcy as a
sleeper at the tail end of his NFL Draft special on ESPN Tuesday night. Perhaps
he gathered that information via his old Giants connections. Plus, when Parcells
mentioned Pearcy, ESPN ran a clip of his pro day workout at Alabama State and
Collins could be seen with a stunned look on his face as Pearcy ran a
3.76-second short shuttle -- a ridiculous number as evidenced by Collins’
reaction. Pearcy also ran a 4.31-second 40.
Here’s the full clip of
Pearcy’s workout, complete with shots of Collins’ dropped jaw."
MARK HERZLICH FEELS GIANTS' MIDDLE LINEBACKER POSITION IS HIS TO WIN
"One year ago, Mark Herzlich took to the Radio City Music Hall stage prior to the
start the NFL Draft with the understanding that he was not going to be back on
it. Unlike the other 24 invited prospects, Roger Goodell was not expected to
call his name as a first-round pick later that night. Instead, he was there for
his uplifting story of overcoming cancer to return to the gridiron.
At one point, Herzlich was an All-American and surefire first-round pick. But
less than two years and one season on the field removed from Ewing’s sarcoma, a
rare form of bone cancer, in his leg, Herzlich knew an NFL franchise would be
taking a risk on potential with his selection and that it wouldn’t happen until
the middle rounds at the earliest.
No one took the risk.
“If I was going to get drafted, there was going to be at least one team who
overlooked the cancer and said, ‘All right, he’s taken a step past it, he’s on
the way to being the player he was again,’?” the linebacker said. “After round
five, it’s like, ‘Okay, well no one’s looked past that.’ And so I kind of knew
around rounds six and seven that it wasn’t going to happen.”
One year later, the undrafted free agent is a Super Bowl champion and in the
mix for the Giants’ starting middle linebacker spot for the 2012 season. The
Giants re-signed middle linebacker Chase Blackburn, and general manager Jerry
Reese has said starting outside linebacker Michael Boley is a possibility in the
middle. And though Herzlich said he still has plenty to prove and will be
working for a spot on the roster this offseason, he was the starting middle
linebacker for two games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in Week
12 and views the job as his.
“It’s mine for the taking,” Herzlich said. “I wish the best for everybody
else, but it’s still a competition. I want the team to do well, and if it’s not
the spot that the coaches want me in, then that’s one thing. But the way I look
at it is, there is a place that I can play and I don’t want anyone to take that
away from me.”
Coming off the broken right ankle, Herzlich said the final obstacle was the
ankle’s range of motion, which he said has returned completely.
“I went to one of the physical therapists just the other day, and my right
ankle seemed better than my left now so that’s all back to normal,” he said.
“I’m feeling great and workouts are going well.”
Now with a season under his belt and his first offseason ahead, Herzlich said
he feels like he’s more involved and more comfortable than he was last season.
“It’s so much better already,” he said.
A few weeks ago, he went in for his routine checkup and remains cancer-free.
Mid-May will be three years since his cancer diagnosis, and his checkups will
then be reduced to every six months, something he called “a good step.”
It’s all part of his journey back to football; past being recognized as the
cancer patient who plays football and to the football player who once had
“Now I feel like, okay, I play football and cancer is something that helped
make me who I am, but it’s also not something that I’m dealing with right now,”
HAKEEM NICKS THINKS GIANTS CAN FIND MARIO MANNINGHAM'S REPLACEMENT IN HOUSE
leave the drafting to general manager Jerry Reese, but when it comes to looking
for a replacement for departed wideout Mario Manningham, Nicks thinks the option
is on the current roster. Though, Nicks did say that if Reese wanted to draft a
wideout, he wouldn't protest.
"I feel like we got some guys that are ready to step up to the
challenge," Nicks said at the NFL Pop Up store on 41st street today. "But when
it comes to drafting; that's Jerry Reese and our organization and they obviously
do a good job with that."
Nicks mentioned Jerrel Jernigan, Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden as possible
replacements he had high hopes for.
"I know Hixon has a chip on his shoulder and he's ready to show what he can
do," he said.
He and the Giants wideouts have been working with quarterback Eli Manning
"ever since we got back," including today.
A lot of the work, he said, focused on combination routes between he and
Victor Cruz in order to make sure there is no layoff from this past season.
As far as advice for the Giants future first-round pick, Nicks -- a former
29th overall pick -- had this:
"Come in be prepared it's a business take it seriously and at the same time
come ready to work because it's a hard working organization."
"Eli Manning doesn't pay attention to any media coverage nor does he care
what's being said about him.
Well, that's the sell job, anyway. It's just that nobody should be buying
Not after a playful comment made during
an appearance at the University of Mississippi in which the former Rebels
quarterback referenced the hoopla surrounding the Jets' Mark Sanchez and Tim
“New York Giants just won a championship," Manning deadpanned to Fox News'
Sheppard Smith, a fellow Ole Miss alum who emceed the event, "yet I’m still the
third most talked about quarterback in my own city.”
The crowd laughed, and the comment seemed to be made in jest by Manning, who
is a budding comedian these days. He'll host SNL on May 5 and was
apparently shooting a
recent DirecTV commercial with Deion Sanders, who plays a fairy in the dish
Yes, Manning seems to be getting plenty of attention lately. And the cameras
will be on him when he and his teammates pick up their Super Bowl rings at
Tiffany & Co. next month and again when they visit the White House.
In short, surely Sanchez would gladly trade all of the pub he's gotten over
the past three months for the press Manning has gotten.
* * * *
As you can see in the video linked above, the university changed the speed
limit from 18 mph (in honor of Archie Manning) to 10 mph (to honor Eli). Isn't
it usually the older generation telling people to slow down?
* * * *
Smith asked Manning about retirement. Why? I don't know. Something about
moving back to Mississippi when he's done or something...
“I feel I am entering the best part of my career," Manning said. "I said it
last year before the season,
I said these next seven years are going to be my best football years and I’m
going to focus on that and when it’s time to retire we’ll figure out what that
next stage is going to be.”
* * * *
Weird little tidbit dropped in that vid by David Diehl and Hakeem Nicks on an
apparent mix-up by Nicks. Diehl said a timeout had to be called in the Super
Bowl because Nicks ran to the wrong sideline.
I didn't remember hearing that at any point, so I went back to the broadcast
to see what I could find. Gotta tell you, I have no idea what they're talking
The Giants took two timeouts in that game and on both of them there was no
evident confusion - at least based on what NBC showed. Nicks was on the field
for the plays before and after both timeouts, plus he was lined up and awaiting
the snap when the timeouts were called. At no point did he seem to be running to
One thing I did notice, however, was Nicks shaking his arm at the end of the
play before the timeout (a fumble by Ahmad Bradshaw). It looked like Nicks
might've tweaked the shoulder injury that was bothering him all postseason.
But Nicks went right to the huddle after that play, so that can't be what
Diehl and Nicks were referencing. If I find out, I'll let you folks know. Or if
you have any idea on what they're talking about, please let me know."http://www.nj.com/giants/