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Osi Umenyiora Has a Change of Heart

Osi's worrying about his hip, not his starting job

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Aug 5, 2010  |  Updated 9:15 AM EDT
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Osi Umenyiora Has a Change of Heart

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What are they putting in the water up in Albany

Since the moment he was removed from the starting lineup last season, Osi Umenyiora has never missed an opportunity to complain about his status on the Giants. He hinted that he'd like to be traded, said that he'd rather retire than come off the bench, painted himself as the victim of a vast conspiracy designed to keep him off the field and generally sounded like the unhappiest man on the planet Earth. It was a bit of a shock, then, to see Umenyiora singing a completely different tune at Giants camp on Wednesday.

"Obviously I've been very selfish in the past in my demands in some of the things that I wanted," Umenyiora said. "I don't really feel that way anymore, right now. There's enough playing time for everybody. As soon as I get on that football field I'm going to make plays, period, no matter where they put me at. If I'm coming off the bench I'm going to be the best bench player ever."

What accounts for this attitude change? It could be Perry Fewell's arrival and the shift back to a more aggressive defensive scheme. Umenyiora may well understand that his future is as a pass-rushing specialist and Fewell's defense may give him a chance to rack up sacks without being placed in a position to diminish his value by doing anything else.

Or it could be his hip injury, which will require surgery at some point and could limit him at points during the season. Umenyiora promises he won't use the hip as an excuse for any bad play this season. One might wonder what the point of being quite so public about an injury would be if you're not going to fix it and not use it as an excuse but, as we've established, Umenyiora isn't blessed with the best filter between his brain and his mouth.

Further evidence of that comes when Umenyiora turned the conversation back to retirement. He sounded like a guy finding it very hard to drum up motivation for the season to come, an impressive feat to pull off moments after promising to be the best damn bench player in the history of bench players.

"Sometimes I think about it and sometimes I'm like, really what am I prolonging my career for?" Umenyiora said. "I mean, everything that I wanted coming into the NFL, everything I wanted, I've accomplished, whether that's winning a Super Bowl or being an all-star player or being financially secure, I've accomplished all that already."

There's the chance to be Player of the Week at Murph's Deli in Montclair which entitles you to a free turkey sub and unlimited refills on your Dr. Pepper. Your card has been trumped, sir!

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. You can follow him on Twitter.

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