For years, Osi Umenyiora was in the news about his contract as much as his play.
Because of that, the New York Giants defensive end admits he’s concerned he’ll have to finish his career somewhere else.
Umenyiora said he had “a lot of regrets” about the way he’s handled his business, after signing a restructured one-year deal this summer, which could mark the end of his 10 years with the Giants.
“I completely went about it the wrong way and the way it looked at the particular time, nobody’s really going to understand from the player’s perspective and it’s asinine for me to expect them to,” Umenyiora said to Mike Garafolo of USA Today. “So I went about it wrongly, speaking out about it. All of those things should’ve been handled behind closed doors. I definitely regret that. A lot of people, when they see me, all they think about is that, all they talk about is contract and this and that.
“Forget I’ve been here 10 years and all of the stuff I’ve done here. All they think about is contract. I hate that some people have that impression. But there’s nobody to blame but myself. I could’ve definitely handled it a lot smarter than I did.”
Umenyiora said there have been no talks about anything to keep him with the Giants, but he’s thought for years he was on borrowed time.
“I don’t know,” he said of his future. “For the last three years I’ve thought it was my last year. ‘I’m out of here. They’re going to trade me.’ And yet I ended up right back here. So in my head, I can be like, ‘I’m going to a different team.’ But who knows what’s going to happen?”
Umenyiora said (and he might be right) that if he had dealt with the contract situation behind the scenes, something could have been worked out. “But the fact I came out and was open, speaking and talking all the time, that’s what pushed them into this situation,” he said.
The 31-year-old pass-rusher will now be able to find out what his market value actually is, albeit in a flat market.
He has six sacks this year in a reserve role, but given the scarcity of quality pass rush, he should still be able to find suitors.
But if he had kept his thoughts to himself, he might not have had to worry about that.