Osi Umenyiora Bolts From Giants

Problems with defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan lead to star's departure

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    Looks like Plaxico Burress didn't take all of the Giants' drama to the big house with him. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora left the team Monday because of an issue with defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan.

    According to Mike Garofalo of the Newark Star-Ledger, Sheridan criticized Umenyiora for a mistake he made against the Jets on Saturday. Garofalo's source said that Umenyiora did not confront Sheridan directly, but felt that the coach had "contradicted" himself when calling out the star pass rusher. He didn't speak to anyone before he bolted, leaving coach Tom Coughlin to tell reporters, truthfully or not, that he had no idea where Umenyiora went.

    The issue will force the Giants to deal with two issues. The first is finding a way for Umenyiora and Sheridan to bridge their gap and work together. He's too disruptive a force on their defensive front for them to think that they can simply slide other players around and perform at the same level. That's true in the best of times, but with several members of the defensive line already battling injuries it is nearly impossible.

    Sheridan, while a member of his staff, isn't Steve Spagnuolo. That's going to impact the defense, although the Giants clearly hoped that the turbulence would be less traumatic as it became on Monday. It has, though, and in so public a way as to make ignoring it impossible.

    That leads us to the second issue, which has to do with Umenyiora's departure and the team's punishment. Coughlin and company's dealings with Burress made it very clear that unexplained absences, no matter the reason, were going to be penalized. He can't very well establish that precedent with one player and then look the other way simply because something Sheridan said or did rubbed Umenyiora the wrong way.

    And that's just for starters, because this story will surely grow over the next few days as more details come to light. The seas were calm for the Giants for most of the offseason, but the water's getting choppy and it couldn't be at a worse time.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.