New York Giants Notes: 'The Return' Edition

Good morning, New York Giants fans! I guess we have to call this notebook 'The Return' edition. I am back in the saddle after a week in Bar Harbor, Me., spent -- mostly -- tromping around the gorgeous Acadia National Park. Admittedly, though, I'm suffering some vacation hangover, so we will just have to ease into it.

It looks like the NFL will also be back soon. That is pretty much what we were saying when I left for vacation, but after the NFL owners stupidly tried to pull a fast one on the players last week it looks like things will actually come to a conclusion this week. The league could even be back in business by Wednesday. Cross your fingers, say a prayer, wear your lucky shirt, whatever you have to do to help. But, it looks like this mess could finally be over soon.

So, since we are tired of lockout talk let's spend the rest of this notebook looking at a little of the landscape once teams and players do get back to work.

NFL.com news: Mara on Umenyiora-Reese rift: They must 'work this thing out'

New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora and general manager Jerry Reese haven't seen eye to eye lately. Team owner John Mara believes that must change for player and team to move on together.

It's a message Mara delivered last week when he saw Umenyiora during labor negotiations between NFL owners and players in New York.

"I told him that when this (lockout) is over, he's got to sit down with Jerry man to man and work this thing out," Mara told Newsday at Friday's meeting of league owners and executives in Atlanta. "He's got to do that."

Papa Mara is playing counselor for his star defensive end and general manager. Getting Ahmad Bradshaw re-signed has to be the Giants' No. 1 priority once the league re-opens for business. Figuring out Umenyiora's future is not, however, far behind.

I love the work done by Matt Bowen at the National Football Post. A former NFL player, Bowen writes with an insider's knowledgeable perspective, yet in an understandable informative way. He has posted a couple of pieces lately that I found interesting. One was his take on the elimination of two-a-day practices, the other was a post on the added burden placed on position coaches during the upcoming season.

NFL.com news: Appeasing fans, standard of play are concerns as lockout drags
The longer the lockout lingers, the more concerns are raised, especially when it comes to the quality of preseason games and whether or not players will report to camp in shape after having to work out without teams' supervision.

New CBA sets up eventual 18-game stare down | ProFootballTalk
The NFL players successfully have beaten back the league's desire to expand (i.e., enhance) the regular season from 16 to 18 games. For now. A source with knowledge of the terms of the deal approved by the owners on Thursday tells PFT that, while the new CBA removes the league's unilateral right to expand from 16 to 18 games (while keeping four preseason games, if so desired), the agreement gives the league the ability to shift to a 16-and-2 format without the input or approval of the post-asterisked NFLPA.

Report: Eagles interested in Brett Favre | ProFootballTalk
Ugh. Let me repeat that. Ugh. Howard Eskin of WIP radio in Philly reports that the Eagles could sign quarterback Brett Favre as a backup to Mike Vick, after Kevin Kolb is shipped out of town.

My take: You're kidding me with this nonsense, right? Favre coming back as a backup? No way. I wish the guy would go away and stay away, and that people would stop throwing out speculation.

Finally, no 'Hard Knocks' this year. I have never watched the show, anyway, so that makes no difference to me.

[Note: Thanks to Mike Farley for keeping the ship afloat while my wife was trying to kill me -- and our dogs -- by dragging us all over the mountains of Maine.]

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