New York Giants  

 

Mara on Umenyiora-Reese rift: They must 'work this thing out'

  • By NFL.com
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New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora and general manager Jerry Reese haven't seen eye to eye lately. Team owner John Mara believes that must change for player and team to move on together.

It's a message Mara delivered last week when he saw Umenyiora during labor negotiations between NFL owners and players in New York.

"I told him that when this (lockout) is over, he's got to sit down with Jerry man to man and work this thing out," Mara told Newsday at Friday's meeting of league owners and executives in Atlanta. "He's got to do that."

Umenyiora claimed in a deposition, taken as part of the players' antitrust lawsuit against the league, that Reese promised in 2008 to either trade him or pay him among the top five defensive ends in the game if he still was playing at a high level in two seasons, sources who have seen the affidavit told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora last month.

Umenyiora spent 2008 on injured reserve with a knee ailment, and he became a situational player in 2009 while clashing with the coaching staff. Then he rebounded last season to set an NFL record with 10 forced fumbles and record a team-high-tying 11.5 sacks, leading him to claim Reese had failed to make good on his word.

Umenyiora has two years remaining on a contract that will pay him base salaries of $3.125 million and $3.975 million, but he has said he'll only return to New York on a new deal, not the one he signed in 2005.

Reese declined to comment on the situation Friday, Newsday reported.

As one of the plaintiffs in the case known as Brady et al v. National Football League et al, Umenyiora provided the statements to NFL Players Association lawyers to show the kind of "irreparable" harm being done to players by the lockout. Umenyiora also has attended labor talks, and Mara used the opportunity to speak with his star pass rusher.

"I talked to him last week," Mara said, "and told him we wanted him back."

Since being selected in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft, Umenyiora has been a standout player known for stretches of dominance. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Umenyiora has amassed 60 career sacks.

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