Or will he?
In an email sent to the AP, Umenyiora apparently told them he intends to play under his old contract, however, this evening Mike Florio reported that he may be returning because a new deal has been struck between he and the Giants.
Judging by his comments to the AP, it doesn't seem like that is the case.
"What has been offered has been unacceptable and shows they don’t really respect the fact I sacrifice my health for the franchise."
Umenyiora cites the reason for his return as being because "I love and respect my Coaches, my teammates, the fans, and myself."
Apparently his coach knows about this as well. In a conference call with the New York media, head coach Tom Coughlin said he expects his star pass rusher back at practice Monday afternoon.
Coughlin, an old school guy, has to be annoyed with all the questions about contract negotiations. People don't seem to realize he has no control over who the Giants re-sign or give new deals, either that or they don't care and just want the good stories.
Given that Coughlin seemed annoyed by Ramses Barden and Adam Koets missing practice due to their injuries, it goes without saying he's probably not too happy with Umenyiora.
Though he's willing to tolerate it from a star, it would seem.
Florio reported tonight that a deal could be coming soon, or at least Umenyiora was given the details of a deal and he likes it, which is why he's coming back tomorrow.
However, the sentiments from most or all of the Giants beat writers last week seemed to be Umenyiora was returning this week no matter what, so Florio could be just stirring the pot.
"There’s talk in some circles that Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora soon will be getting his much-desired new deal. It’s possible that the scuttlebutt traces to the fact that Umenyiora is returning to practice without a new deal already in place. Unless he has undergone a dramatic change of heart, he wouldn’t cave without getting something from the team — especially since he declined the team’s offer to enhance the last two years of his current contract."
Those offers Florio refers to are the reported $400,000—$2 million offer in incentives the Giants offered him last week. The extra millions would supposedly be given to him if he surpassed 15 sacks, a feat he's never accomplished in his career.
I imagine Umenyiora scoffed at that deal; considering he'd still be vastly underpaid compared to his defensive line teammate Chris Canty, who, by most accounts, is nowhere near the player Umenyiora is.
Though it is merely speculation at this point, one wonders if Umenyiora's competitive nature kicked in when he saw Jason Pierre-Paul dominate in Saturday night's preseason opener. JPP finished with two sacks and was every bit as dominant as advertised.
Oh, and he did this against Pro Bowl left tackle Jordan Gross.
As if wanting to prove to fans the Giants still need him, Umenyiora may have decided it's time to end his holdout. If he is playing with a chip on his shoulder this season, it will spell nothing but good things for the Giants.
Honestly we should have seen this holdout coming. Umenyiora has proven to be somewhat selfish over the years. I only say he should have made a better deal when he signed his extension in 2005. He knew then the contract was front loaded, and said nothing.
I lost respect for Umenyiora during this whole ordeal. He knew the Giants were going to be in fits with the new salary cap, yet he chose not to back off his demands until two weeks into training camp.
I honestly believe he's a great player, and I would never want to see him go to another power house NFC team, but if the Giants can, I hope they travel down other avenues in the future.
Maybe they will spend another high pick on a defensive end—given their history it honestly would not be the least bit surprising—and move on next year.
At some point this has to be recognized as a distraction.
For now, though, the Giants are getting an exceptional pass rusher back and restoring the depth to that position they've known for these past several years.
In this day and age in the NFL, you can never have too many pass rushers, I just hope he stays motivated.