- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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But after seeing the Giants draft North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin in the second round, Cofield understands he might not get what he wants and that his days as a Giant could very well be nearing an end.
"It definitely does make you think that maybe they are preparing for life without me and if that is the case, then so be it," said Cofield, who attended teammate Shaun O'Hara's foundation charity golf outing at the Trump National Golf Club to help benefit awareness for cystic fibrosis.
"I would love to be back with the Giants. Hopefully we can work out a long-term deal. That would definitely be my first choice but you don't always get to script it. You don't always get that fairy tale Michael Strahan ending."
"It gave me kind of a sense of closure," Cofield added. "It gave me a sense that maybe it is time for me to move on. And if that is the case, the Giants will be in great shape and I think I have done the right things for my career to be in good shape."
After enjoying his most productive season as a pro with a career-high 54 tackles and four sacks, Cofield is looking to finally cash in after having to play under a one-year restricted free-agent deal.
But Cofield, 27, is one of many players who might be a restricted free agent again depending on what the collective bargaining agreement will be for the 2011 season.
The defensive tackle, who has been a bargain for the Giants as a starter for all of his five seasons, reiterated that he does not want play under the RFA one-year tender for the second straight year. The Giants tendered Cofield in case he is a restricted free agent. If he is asked to play for his tender for a second straight year, Cofield said he will consider requesting a trade so he can try to secure a longer contract.
"Hopefully I can work something out with the Giants," said Cofield, who was nearly traded to New Orleans during last year's draft before he and the Saints were unable come to terms on a new deal. "And if not, hopefully they will give me my chance to get out there and test the waters."
While Cofield may be frustrated that his free-agent status is in limbo due to the lockout, he isn't angry or upset with the Giants for drafting Austin, the North Carolina defensive tackle.
The Giants believe Austin has top-15 talent but dropped to them in the second round due to an NCAA investigation into improper benefits. Austin was kicked off the UNC team last year but the Giants believe Austin is a good kid who made a bad decision.
"They are doing what they have to do to protect themselves," Cofield said. "When [general manager] Jerry Reese was questioned about (what Austin means for Cofield's future) after the fact, he said that I was a free agent so we will see if they stand firm with that."
Those are a lot of hungry mouths to feed with little playing time to spread around. Cofield has no problem competing for his job. He just wants to be fairly compensated after five seasons as a starter.
But as Cofield says, not all Giants get to finish like Strahan did.
"I have had a pretty good working relationship with them and hopefully if I explain the way I feel about it, you wouldn't think you want an unhappy player in the locker room," Cofield said. "I would love to retire a Giant and I love it here in New York and New Jersey. I love the fans and I love my teammates. That is what I am rooting for."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.
5hEric D. Williams
2dBy Ian O'Connor