- Adam Schefter, NFL
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In a sworn affadavit to be filed in federal court in Minnesota next month as part of the players' antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora spells out why he has wanted out of New York.
Umenyiora states Giants general manager Jerry Reese did not follow through on promises to renegotiate his contract, which the Pro Bowl defensive end still has not forgotten and could contribute to his departure before the 2011 season, whenever it begins.
"In early April 2008, approximately two weeks before the start of the New York Giants offseason conditioning program, I, Osi Umenyiora, had a meeting with the general manager of the New York Giants, Mr. Jerry Reese," Umenyiora testified this past April.
"After about an hour of discussing my current contract, as well as the contracts of other defensive ends currently playing in the National Football League, Mr. Reese told me that two years from the start of the 2008 league year, if I was currently playing at a high level, we'd either renegotiate my current contract so that it would be equal to that of the top five defensive ends playing or I would be traded to a team that would do that.
"Before leaving the meeting, I asked Mr. Reese twice if he was absolutely sure that would be the case. He then told me that he was an honest and church-going man and that he would not lie, which I believed to be the case. Under the penalty of perjury these statements are true and accurate."
The NFL Players Association feels Umenyiora has suffered irreparable harm, which is one of the main reasons it sought out Umenyiora as one of the plaintiffs in the Brady vs. NFL antitrust case, which the former union filed shortly after decertifying. The NFLPA plans to file the sworn affidavits of select plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The Giants declined comment due to the ongoing litigation.
Whenever the lockout is lifted, the Giants will face a critical decision on Umenyiora, who has two years left on a contract that is scheduled to pay him about $3.5 million this season.
For now, it appears as if the 29-year-old Umenyiora has made up his mind. He recently moved out of his New Jersey home with plans to take up full-time residence in Atlanta, where he has spent much of his time over the past six years.
This offseason, Umenyiora underwent surgery to have a piece of bone removed from his hip, an injury that bothered him throughout last season, when it felt as if he was being jabbed on each play. Umenyiora is said to feel fully recovered and ready for football.
He repeatedly has sought a contract extension or a trade to a team willing to give him one. Umenyiora certainly no longer sounds confident it will come from the Giants, who used their top pick last year on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
In 2008, Umenyiora suffered a season-ending left knee injury in the preseason. In 2009, Umenyiora started 16 games, registered 7 sacks, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. Last season, he started all 16 games and had 11.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles. Umenyiora's last contract extension came in December 2005, when he signed a six-year, $41 million contract.
While Umenyiora believes he belongs among the NFL's top-paid defensive ends, not all NFL players share his opinion. On his Twitter account, Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy wrote: "Overrated n soft 3rd best d-line on his team honestly" as he retweeted this story to his followers on the social media network.
Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider.
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