Life with Giants can be heaven or hell

New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich, a cancer survivor, is pumped about next season. Teammate...

New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich, a cancer survivor, is pumped about next season. Teammate Osi Umenyiora ... not so much. (REUTERS)

Bill Lankhof, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 6:48 PM ET

One man’s heaven can be another man’s purgatory.

Take the New York Giants’ Mark Herzlich and Osi Umenyiora.

Herzlich is loving New York. Umenyiora would love a way out.

Umenyiora told reporters at a promotional event this week that he doesn’t want to play with the Giants for the $4 million the final year of his contract will pay.

But he would play for $4 million with any other team. That’s how much he wants out.

The defensive end is upset the Giants won’t give him a long-term deal. Herzlich meantime couldn’t be happier to be in New York.

Actually, he’s happy to be anywhere. Surviving cancer can do that to a guy.

While Herzlich doesn’t have a job, a long-term contract or $4 million, he does have unbounded optimism. Cancer forced him to miss a season at Boston College. He didn’t know if he’d ever play again. A year ago he sat at the NFL draft and watched as his name never was called.

Picked up by the Giants, he started two games at middle linebacker last season. And, now? The starting job is “mine for the taking,” said Herzlich, who will compete with Michael Boley and Chase Blackburn for playing time. “I wish the best for everybody else, but it’s still a competition. The way I look at it, there is a place that I can play and I don’t want anyone to take that away from me.”

The Giants have been taking away plenty from Umenyiora, to hear him tell it. He wants more playing time, he wants a contract extension, and he believes playing in New York has left him with an unwarranted reputation of being unable to play the run, “Would I want to (stay)? I think I would if things could be worked out. But is that going to happen? I really don’t think so,” Umenyiora said.

He sat out the first two weeks of training camp in a similar contretemps last summer. He had minor knee surgery, then contributed 12.5 sacks, all the while complaining about his backup status. “I’m one of the very good pass rushers in the NFL, I think my statistics have proven that,” he said. “Are they going to be able to pay me as such? I seriously doubt that.”

Umenyiora, 30, said the Giants can’t afford him under a salary cap with a roster that also includes a new generation of stars. “Is it really going to happen? I doubt it because of the situation that they have with Jason (Pierre-Paul), Justin (Tuck), Victor (Cruz) and Hakeem (Nicks) coming up (eventually), a bunch of young players they have to take care of.”

He’s conflicted. He wants in, but he wants out. “Playing for another team would give me an opportunity to really show what type of player I am.”

Herzlich, the 2008 ACC defensive player of the year, has already shown what type of player he is just by making it back onto the field.

So it is that Herzlich looks at his backup status and sees a rainbow of opportunity while Umenyiora looks at the same rainbow and sees only the storm clouds around it.

Life can be curious that way.

HOME WRECKERS?

Deion Sanders may be going from Prime Time to Slime Time.

First was the reality show. Then came a divorce — but everybody still lived together. Like that’s going to work.

Now the Cowboys’ former star has been charged with a misdemeanour assault charge after a bizarre altercation with his estranged wife, Pilar.

Deion tweeted his wife attacked him in an incident that got her arrested at the Dallas mansion in which both have continued to live as part of their divorce arrangement. He claimed his children “just witnessed their mother and a friend jump me in my room. She’s going to jail (and) I’m pressing charges!”

Pilar was charged with misdemeanour assault but, while standing outside jail, said she was being treated unfairly. “I’m a full-time mom, 100% for my children,” she said, seemingly near tears. “I haven’t been given a fair shake.”

Police said further investigation led to a charge against Deion, though it didn’t warrant his arrest.

Observation: On Tuesday Deion was tweeting about “joy knocking on the door” and that he was letting it in.

Conclusion: All this, and the NFL still doesn’t think getting hit in the head playing football contributes to diminished brain function. Interesting.

SAMUEL A FALCON

The Falcons have acquired Eagles’ Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel for a seventh-round pick.

Along with Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes he gives the Falcons a formidable secondary.

Samuel, 31, restructured his contract, agreeing to a three-year, $18.5 million deal.

The Eagles have been trying to deal Samuel since last July when they signed Nnamdi Asomugha and acquired Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

QUICK HITS

Bengals’ kicker Mike Nugent signed his $2.6 million franchise tender ... An Ohio jury has found former NFL linebacker Nate Webster guilty of four counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a conviction that could result in up to 20 years in prison. He earlier turned down a plea deal that included a four-year jail term ... Sinorice Moss, who spent five disappointing seasons with the Giants after being the 44th pick of the 2006 draft, has signed with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders ... The Patriots placed offensive lineman Matt Light, 33, who played his entire career protecting quarterback Tom Brady’s blind side, on the retired list.


Videos

Photos