Umenyiora Practices With Giants After Ending Contract Dispute

Osi Umenyiora returned to practice with the New York Giants after ending his contract dispute with the National Football League team.

Umenyiora was on the training camp field at East Rutherford, New Jersey, yesterday, where he’d spent most of his time in the first two weeks on a stationary bicycle rehabilitating an injury.

He told the Associated Press in an e-mail yesterday that he was ready to practice and play with the Giants under the terms of his contract, which will pay him $7.1 million over the next two years.

“He jumped right in there and tries to beat the ball like he normally does,” coach Tom Coughlin told reporters after Umenyiora’s first session back. “It was good to see.”

Umenyiora, who had offseason hip surgery, reported to training camp on July 30. The team gave his agent permission to seek a trade, provided they got a first-round draft pick in return, and then withdrew the offer.

The 29-year-old Umenyiora has spent his seven-year NFL career with the Giants, recording 60 sacks and 219 tackles. Last season he had 11 1/2 sacks and a career-high 10 forced fumbles.

Fellow Giants defensive end Justin Tuck told reporters prior to practice yesterday that he could tell Umenyiora was “ready and itching to get back on the football field.”

“There are still some things in the works as far as him and his contract, things like that, but for us as players it hasn’t been a distraction,” Tuck said. “I look at it as he’s back on the field and we’ll take it one day at a time.”

Second-year defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul started in place of Umenyiora in the Giants’ preseason-opening loss to the Carolina Panthers and recorded two sacks.

“Basically it’s going to be a rotation again and the coaches already told me that I’m going to be working both sides,” Pierre-Paul told reporters. “I’ll be playing right end and left defensive end. That’s how I played last year.”