Osi Umenyiora opens minicamp with 2nd team, doesn't retire

When we left off with Osi Umenyiora shortly after the end of last season, he said that he would retire if he wasn’t starting for the New York Giants.

Umenyiora had some well-chronicled beefs with Bill Sheridan, the Giants’ one-and-done defensive coordinator in 2009. Well, looks he’s started off with the new defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, in the same place he was a year ago – running with the twos.

Umenyiora opened minicamp today at the New Meadowlands Stadium with the second team. No, he didn’t storm off and make good on his vow to retire.

“If I truly was not the best player, then I'd be cool with it," Umenyiora said, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. "But if I feel like I am the best player -- and everybody in this league knows the type of player I am -- the minute in my mind I'm playing the way I'm capable of playing and I'm not on the field, then of course it's going to be a problem."

Everybody in the league also has a firm understanding of how fleeting success can be for all but the greatest players. Clearly, Umenyiora is placing himself in that company but right now the Giants are placing him behind Mathias Kiwanuka.

"I definitely don't look at it (like I have to win the starting job in training camp)," Umenyiora said. “I feel like I'm still one of the best defensive ends in the league in my head. That's pretty much all that counts. If I really decided to start thinking about (having to win the job), it's not going to be good for this team at all."</p>

Through the rotation, Kiwanuka got some work with the first team but this transition back to a starting role might not go quite as smoothly as he assumes. Justin Tuck, Dave Tollefson and first-round pick Jason Pierre-Paul are also in the mix. Competition should be excellent.

"All I know is the best players have to play this year," Umenyiora said. "You understand? They have to. We have to win. There's no question about that. There's too much on the line right now. If it ends up that I'm not in there, then I know in my heart that I truly wasn't the best player. And I'll be OK with that."

For some reason, we have a feeling that if Umenyiora isn’t starting come September, he’ll still consider himself the best defensive end on the roster in New York. Stay tuned.

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