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DE Osi Umenyiora


Q: Why didn't you practice today?

A: It wouldn't have been a smart thing to do.

Q: Are you hopeful you can return by next week?

A: Hopefully. It depends on what Dr. Russell Warren and Dr. Ronnie Barnes tell me to do. If they think it's time for me to go, then I'll be ready to go.

Q: Do you feel like you're close?

A: I feel like I'm very close.

Q: But this Sunday's out of the question?

A: It's not out of the question. That's something that I guess Coach Coughlin is going to disclose and those types of things. But I can't really talk about that, but I know it's not out of the question.

Q: Are you happy with the way things are going?

A: I'm here and everything's alright.

Q: Can you put a percentage on how you are?

A: You can't really put a percentage on it because I don't want to jinx myself or suffer any setbacks. As soon as it's ready to go, I'll be out there.

Q: What's been the game plan?
A: I've been doing everything that I've been told to do. Whenever it's time for me to go out there and play is when I'll go out there and play.

Q: Have you had any setbacks since the surgery?

A: I haven't had any setbacks. It's supposed to be a four to six week recovery. I'm still well within that range. No setbacks at all.

Q: Was it your call or their call not to practice today?

A: It was everybody's call. I feel like this is a playoff team so hopefully we might have 17 games to play after this one. That being said, it won't be smart to go out there and rush myself right now when we could possibly have 17 games left to play.

Q: Do the injuries make you hungrier to return?

A: Injuries are a part of the game and unfortunately we've been hit with it quite hard this year, but I can't make my decisions based upon what's going on around here with everybody else. Whenever I'm 100 percent, or not even 100 , whenever I'm ready to play, because I'll probably never be 100 percent ever again, but when I'm close.

Q: How hard has it been sitting around, not being able to play?

A: It's been tough. I miss my teammates. I love those guys. I feel like I can help this team and we did a good job of that last week. I think the d-line has been playing outstanding. I think Dave [Tollefson] and Jason [Pierre-Paul] and everybody has been playing very, very well in my absence. That also played a factor in why I haven't rushed back or done anything crazy to try to get back, because those guys are holding their own out there. Whenever it's time for me, whenever I'm 100 percent, or like I said before, close to 100 percent, that's when I'll go back out there.

Q: There has been speculation from the outside that you haven't rushed back because of your contract. How much of that is true?

A: That's false. Obviously there is going to be speculation the way things went down or whatever, but the contract thing I'm not even going to discuss that right now. I think that's in the past, it didn't happen, and that's just it.

Q: Do you think, 'I have to be careful to protect my future?'

A: No. I just think I have to be careful because I don't want to go out there and re-injure myself. I don't think it really has anything to do with the contract.

Q: What percentage are you?

A: Close.

Q: This is something you've had since college?

A: Yeah. For ten or, actually like, eleven years now.

Q: Has it flared up over time?

A: It was bothering me last year, all last season it was there. They did some things to quiet it down. I was able to play through it. As the season went on and I continued to train, it progressively got worse. So I had to get that fixed.

Q: Was it considered earlier in the offseason?

A: Well we were locked out so I couldn't really come over here and talk to the doctors about it and see exactly what was going on. But it did bother me all throughout the offseason.

Q: People are questioning the timing of the surgery?

A: I could've dragged this whole injury thing out this year and not had surgery. Do you understand what I mean? Continue to say it was hurt if I didn't want to play, but the fact of the matter is I want to get back on the football field and help this team. So I decided to have it. They told me it was going to be a four to six week recovery time, which would make me miss maybe like two to three weeks. That's pretty much where we are now.

Q: When you were out there for those couple of days you looked like your normal self. It just didn't respond afterwards?

A: Pain and swelling. After practice it would swell up and then I would work all night to get the swelling down. I would go out and it would swell up again. Really there was no way I was going to be able to make it through a season like that.

Q: What have you been able to do on the field the last few days?

A: Work on my technique and my fundamentals. I really haven't played football in a game since January 3. It's been almost eight, nine months now. It's going to be difficult, but I have to begin to get myself acclimated back to playing football. So I go out there and I do drills and things of that nature. Hopefully I'll be alright when it's time to go.

Q: Do you worry about the doctors here being on your side?

A: These guys, one thing I've known about them is that they always think player safety first. I wasn't concerned about Dr. Warren or [trainer] Ronnie [Barnes]. They're going to take care of me and do the right thing for me. That's exactly what we've done so far. They advised the surgery. He said that at some point I was going to need the surgery. Dr. Warren said that as soon as he looked at me. Soon as he said that I trusted. I knew that what was going to happen.

Q: Over the summer you got to have some fun with LeSean McCoy. Does it make it a little more disappointing you can't get out there?

A: I don't know who that is. I'm sorry.

Q: Has this recovery been such that you feel good one day but not the next?

A: It's been progressing steadily. I think now it's just a question of if I know this is as good as it's going to feel and it's not going to get any better, then I'll go out there and play on it. But if there is a chance that it could possibly get better then I'll wait it out.

Q: Chances you play this weekend?

A: I can't comment on that. I don't really know. If Dr. Warren and Ronnie Barnes tell me it's okay for me to go out there and play and Coach Coughlin tells me he needs me to go out there to play then I'll go out there and play.

Q: Does it concern you that you won't ever be 100 percent again?

A: No. I had two knee surgeries in college. So I haven't been 100 per cent since then. There's no player who's played over a year in the NFL who physically will ever feel 100 percent ever again. That's pretty much what I was referring to.

Q: Is how much fun you had in those two practices back on your mind?

A: No question. When I actually got out there on the practice field after all of that stuff that was going on, I realized that they almost protected me from everything. Once I came out there on the football field it was just so much fun being around them and talking trash to Beatty and going back and forth. It was just fun. I love to play. As soon as I'm able to get back and do that, I'll go out there and do it.

Q: They protected you from all of the outside stuff?

A: All of the stuff that was going on around. You understand what I mean? I come in and they wouldn't even mention it or the coaches or whatever, they weren't looking at me sideways or being like, 'You need to be here.' They were just like, 'Man, just take care of your business and come out when you can.' I'll never forget that. I appreciated it. They could've taken things a completely different way, but they didn't. That actually made me want to come out and fight for them even more.

Q: Do you have any regrets about that lawsuit and filing that affidavit?

A: No. I don't think so. I think it was the right thing to do. I think there were so many things that have happened before that have enabled us to even be able to fight against the NFL or to put our names out there and do things like that and enabled us to make the type of money that we're making now. So when the opportunity is called upon for you to do something, for you to put your name out there, I think it's our responsibility to do so.

Q: In your e-mails you were pretty frustrated. Is that frustration still there?

A: It's not going to go anywhere. When I look at it, it's ridiculous the way things are looked at. I can't say I don't understand it, because I kind of do understand it. But at the end of the day it's still not fair, but it's not a fair world.

Q: Are you talking about your contract or the way people perceived you?

A: The way people perceive contracts in general, or NFL contracts. Not mine specifically, but the way everything is perceived in general, I don't think it's right, but it is what it is.

Re: People saying you don't feel any urgency to get on the field.

A: No, I feel an urgency. I want to play. I want to help them win. I feel like I can do some things that will make this team better, no question. I feel an urgency, but at the same time I don't want to go out there for one or two games and not be able to play for the rest of the season. That'll just be dumb. I have to wait til it's at least close to being 100 percent.

Q: Is that your knee is still swelling up alarming?

A: No. They say that's normal because any time you have surgery, there's going to be some swelling. It's going to get better before it gets worse, apparently. That's pretty much it. I'm not alarmed by it. I've been dealing with that for years now. So it's alright.

Q: Was it worth it to make the stand?

A: At some point you just have to go for it and if it works, it works; if it doesn't, it doesn't. Apparently it didn't work so we're right back to square one. That's it. I don't think my relationship with Jerry [Reese] has been damaged. I think the way it was portrayed and the way it looked was a lot worse than it actually was. I see him. I talk to him. We're okay. Everything's alright.

Q: Are you glad you're still here?

A: I'm happy I'm with my team. It's just a business at the end of the day. I talked to the owners, we don't even mention a contract or anything like that because at the end of the day they understand, just like I understand, that it's all business. It's a short lived business as far as players so we have to try the best to get what we can. I'm happy I'm here with my team. Whatever happens from this point out, I'm not really talking about a contract or whatever. Whenever it's time for them to do the right thing I think they will.

Q: How can someone give their all if they feel disrespected?

A: You just have to find exactly what it is that you're playing for, your motivation, a different motivation. If I was to sit over here and be like, 'Okay I'm going to go out there and play for the Giants organization,' then I might not go out there and give it my all. It's the same thing as if you were to ask a soldier, I hate to compare football to war, but if you were to ask a soldier what they were fighting for, they wouldn't tell you they were fighting for the United States government. They'll tell you they're fighting for the guy next to them and the guy who they bleed and sweat with. That's exactly what I'm playing for now. I love these guys. My coaches, I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. Maybe I'm not getting paid the way I want to, but I can still go out there and play because I love those guys. The fans respect me, they support me, well some of them anyways. My son won't even watch football unless he sees me playing. He told me he wants to see me play. He's going to be four years old. You just have to find different things and motivate yourself to be playing and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Q: Do you have advice for any of the younger guys?

A: I would tell them not to sign a seven-year deal when they are 23 years old. I'll definitely tell them that, but besides that there's not really much advice I can give them.

Q: Is there anything you can remember with Strahan that you took into account?

A: Well [Strahan] was different. I think in his situation he had the majority of the leverage every time his situations unfolded. I don't think that was the case here. There's really not much I can take from him and give advice on because everybody's situation is different.

Q: Did you learn something new?

A: This is something we always knew. When it's your turn, then it's going to life. It's not something anything different or anything that I could know.

Q: Have we seen the best of you?

A: I don't think so. I think mentally I'm learning. I'm still learning every day. Physically, I'm as quick as I've always been. I think from here on out it's only going to get better. I think just the way I look at the game now, the way I approach it, it's completely different than when I was a kid. Fortunately for me, I've been able to maintain my speed and my quickness as well as my mental ability to really diagnose what's going on out there. I think I have a couple of good years left barring any unfortunate injuries.

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