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Osi Talks to Ralph Vacchiano


Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News recently sat down with Osi Umenyiora. Here’s the interview:

Daily News: So, is Eli Manning worth $106 million?
Osi Umenyiora: Yeah. I would say so. You see what everybody else is getting paid and I think he’s in that same caliber. So based on that same pay scale, of course he’s worth that.
DN: Were you glad to see the Giants take care of another key player?
OU: They’ve done a good job with it. They’ve taken care of the people they need to take care of. I’m happy for that. He deserves it. He’s a good man. A very good football player. Lucky. He doesn’t have to share none of that with his family. They’re already filthy rich themselves.
DN: They’ve taken care of a lot of guys since you signed your six-year, $41 million contract in 2005. Do you wonder when they’ll get back around to you?
OU: I don’t even really think about that anymore. Prior to the injury maybe I was. But at this point in time I’m just happy to be playing football. Whatever happens, happens. I’m not focused on that. I believe that the more I focus on that the worse a player I become.
DN: There was a time, though, when you were unhappy with your contract …
OU: I’m making a lot. I’m doing OK. Could I be making more? Of course. But I’m doing all right.
DN: Why have your thoughts on that changed?
OU I just think because of things in general. The state the economy is in. It’s a lot of things. I’m not too concerned about that. When the time is right something will be done.
DN: How are you feeling after the first few days of practice?
OU: Doing good. I’m where I need to be. My technique needs a little more work. But it always needs work, that’s the way I feel.
DN: Is the technique the thing that’s suffered the most with the year off?
OU: I think it’s a little bit of technique. My conditioning is very good, better than it was before. I’m stronger than I was before. My legs are stronger than they were before. I think the only thing that needs work, maybe, is my technique.
DN: Can you actually be a better player?
OU: I would hope so. I hope so. I don’t want to regress. I don’t want to be worse than I was. I want to continue to make progress. I’m a year older. Even though I didn’t play I watched a lot of football and I learned a lot of things. So I think I should be better.
DN: It does seem all set up for you. A deep line to keep you fresh. You’re healthy …
OU: That’s what it seems, but you never really can tell until you get out there on the football field. Everything can seem 100%, you can feel like you’re going to do this, and then you go out there and something else happens.
DN: So in that respect your knee injury must have been a reality check that everything can be lost in an instant.
OU: Quickly. Quickly. You can lose everything quickly and the league will move on without you, whether it be a football injury or a non-football injury. What happened to Plaxico, things can happen so fast, you’ve just got to be appreciative and do everything you can to keep things in perspective and keep things where they need to be.
DN: Doesn’t that make you want to get more money now, as quickly as possible?
OU: It definitely adds onto that. But the only thing I know is if you constantly thing about that it’ll never happen. So I tried to take my mind off it. I tried to focus on playing football and being the best player that I can be, because at this point it’s not only money that I play for. Even though you can’t compare it to the contracts that are being handed out now, it’s still a lot of money that I was given. I have enough money saved up where I don’t really have to be pushing and doing all that stuff for a new contract. I just feel like the things I’ve accomplished in the NFL so far is not what I want to. I need to do a whole lot more in my mind, and I just want to accomplish those goals and that’s what I’m focused on right now.
DN: You used to think about money when you should’ve been concentrating on football?
OU: I wouldn’t say that because once I step on the football field I’m good to go. But there were times when I thought about it. Whenever you’re a prideful player and you see somebody else who you don’t think is as good as you and they’re making twice what you’re making, of course you’re going to be like ‘What the hell is going on?’ But you can never let that affect your psyche and the way you think or the way you go out and perform. You can never do that.


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