When Jerry Reese met with the media the day before the Giants were to open workouts, the one bit of noise he totally downplayed was Osi Umenyiora's court-published contentions that Reese lied to him about renegotiating his contract or giving him a trade.
Reese called the affidavit -- filed as part of the now-settled Brady antitrust suit -- "offseason chatter" even as the pass-rushing defensive end threatened a prolonged holdout. Umenyiora had already missed Friday's physicals and 1 p.m. player meeting, and was not expected to appear at the Timex Performance Center for Saturday's first workout.
Hours after Reese finished talking, the Giants signed former Jets punter Steve Weatherford to "compete" with second-year player Matt Dodge. As opposed to last year, when Jeff Feagles' retirement basically handed the job to Dodge, who responded with a perfectly horrible season, he'll have to win the job this year against a seasoned, seven-year veteran.
The bet here is that Weatherford winds up doing the punting once the real games start.
The Giants were also reportedly interested in Matt Turk and Brad Maynard.
As far as the Umenyiora issue goes, Reese said when asked about the affidavit, "I don’t worry about things like that. Sometimes people say things they probably don’t mean. I don’t worry about things that people say in the offseason. You guys know I always call that ‘offseason chatter’, stuff like that. So it’s not a big deal for me."
Umenyiora can be fined $30,000 for every day he misses.
Reese also said free agent offers have been extended to WR Steve Smith, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, and TE Kevin Boss, and that the ball is now "in their court." It's likely all three will re-up, though Boss has received reportedly received interest from some West Coast teams.
Smith and Bradshaw are likely re-signings, however. Smith probably won't see much action in the free agent market, as he'll probably start the season on PUP after major left knee surgery. And Bradshaw lost a lot of his leverage when Miami, a favored landing spot, signed Reggie Bush.
It appears the Giants have prepared to have Bradshaw back, since Brandon Jacobs' agreeing to a small paycut to his $4.65 million salary and releasing defensive tackle Rocky Bernard freed up additional cap space to close the gap between the Giants' offer to Bradshaw and the running back's asking price.
Reese also said Friday's post-6 p.m. meeting with Plaxico Burress is a serious thing, far from a fishing expedition or PR move.
"We don't bring it guys just for the fun of it," Reese said, adding that the team won't ask Burress to work out for them because they know what they're going to see already.
"If you're away for two years and we work you out, you're probably going to look like you've been away for two years," Reese said. "What's the point?"
But Reese did say Burress is "a genetically gifted athlete." And with Smith's status uncertain, Burress has become a potentially desirable option.
And all the draft picks except for first-round corner Prince Amukamara are in. Just going by recent history, Amukamara shouldn't be far behind.