Giants' Umenyiora: Role must change

Demoted defensive end Osi Umenyiora wants to remain with the New York Giants next season provided there are changes in how the team uses the two-time Pro Bowler.

Umenyiora, who lost his starting job after a Thanksgiving loss in Denver, insisted yesterday that he is too good a player and makes too much money to only be a third-down pass rusher.

The 7-year veteran also blamed frustration for comments on Sunday in which he wondered whether he had played his final game with the Giants in the wake of a crushing 41-9 loss to Carolina. He also refused to say whether he felt first-year defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan should be relieved of his duties.

"I love this team," Umenyiora said after the Giants (8-7) practiced for their season finale in Minnesota against the Vikings (11-4). "I have spent the last 7 years of my life here. I have a bunch of great friends here, but this situation cannot continue the way it is. There are definitely some things that are going to be changed.

"I love this place and this organization, the front office, the coaches, I am all in," Umenyiora added. "But I think I am too good of a player for this kind of situation."

Umenyiora, who will make about $3 million next season, said he has not talked to coach Tom Coughlin or general manager Jerry Reese in recent days.

Coughlin on Monday said that Umenyiora is in the team's plans for next season.

But Umenyiora is not happy. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Mathias Kiwanuka after the loss to the Broncos, a game in which he acknowledged he did not play well against the run. He also felt slighted after seeing only limited action (14 plays) in the loss to the Panthers, a game in which the Giants came in still holding playoff hopes.

Umenyiora, who leads the team with seven sacks, defended his own play this season. Despite missing all of last season with a knee injury, he insisted he was just as explosive as before the injury and that his play against the run remains good.

Also, Giants running back Brandon Jacobs will miss Sunday's game with an injury to his right knee that will require arthroscopic surgery next week.

Noteworthy

* The New York Jets will pay tribute to their 26 years at Giants Stadium with a halftime celebration during the final regular-season game to be played there Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. No alcohol will be served at the game, a decision the team made after consulting with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. The parking lots will open 5 hours before the 8:20 kickoff for tailgating.

* New Orleans defensive end Bobby McCray issued a written apology concerning disparaging comments he made on Twitter about the officer that arrested him after a traffic stop this week. A series of comments posted earlier included a reference to the arresting officer being a "short guy with a Napoleon complex" who got angry when McCray asked why he'd been ordered out of the car for a routine traffic stop. In another comment, McCray stated he was pulled over for "DWP," or "Driving with pizza." McCray went on to call the charges "bogus" and claims he was not drunk. Police have said McCray refused a breath test.

* Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu (knee sprain) practiced in a limited role for the first time in 7 weeks, although it is unlikely he will play Sunday in Miami.

* Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said he not only supported the decision by president Bill Polian and first-year coach Jim Caldwell to pull their starters Sunday at the expense of a perfect season, he approved it.

* Cincinnati put rookie linebacker Rey Maualuga (broken ankle) on injured reserve.

* Buffalo running back Fred Jackson says he has been fined $5,000 by the NFL for painting "DIII" under his eyes rather than using a standard strip of eye black during last weekend's game at Atlanta. He said he intends to file an appeal and was surprised by the punishment because he's been wearing "DIII" - which stands for his Division III college football background - since the Coe College product first broke into the league with Buffalo in 2007.