EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. &
Mathias Kiwanuka is back at defensive end for the New York Giants.
The more pressing question for the Super Bowl champions is whether seven-time Pro Bowler Michael Strahan wants back in after a very brief retirement.
With fellow Pro Bowler Osi Umenyiora out for the season with a knee injury, the Giants contacted Strahan's representative Monday to see if No. 92 would return for a 16th season.
"They want to see if there is any interest there," agent Tony Agnone told The Associated Press. "I have to talk to Michael."
Strahan is on vacation in Greece. Agnone said he has not talked to him about the Giants' inquiry.
Agnone described the Giants' call as a courtesy &
for now &
and noted the two sides did no negotiating.
"Part of the talk was about Osi," said Agnone, who also represents Umenyiora.
Strahan turned down a $6 million contract offer in the offseason. He then signed with Fox Sports to work on its NFL pregame show.
With Strahan's status uncertain, the Giants shuffled their defense Monday and moved Kiwanuka back to end from his strongside linebacker spot.
"I was told all along that if something were to happen that this is a position I could find myself in," Kiwanuka said. "I am ready to step in there and hopefully there won't be a letdown at all."
A 2006 first-round draft choice, Kiwanuka was switched to linebacker 17 months ago so the Giants could get their best 11 defenders on the field.
Whatever happens with Strahan, it seems certain that Kiwanuka is going to be a defensive lineman this season, even if Strahan returns.
"We are going to go forward with the players that we have," coach Tom Coughlin said. "And we are always looking for and searching for people who can help our team. And nothing is going to change with regard to that."
General manager Jerry Reese had said earlier Monday that the Giants were looking at all their options.
Jets quarterback Brett Favre, recently unretired himself, said the Giants should do whatever possible to get Strahan back.
"The guy still looks great, hell of a player," Favre said at the Jets' facility in Hempstead, N.Y. "I would have done whatever to try to get him back initially, but now, how could you not want him back?
"Wouldn't that be something, he comes back and we start a trend?"
Giants teammates had their doubts about Strahan returning.
"As I know it, he is probably on a beach somewhere sipping on some pina coladas, so I doubt football is the first thing on his mind today," said Justin Tuck, who replaced Strahan at left end.
Defensive tackle Barry Cofield said Strahan gave no indication he wanted to play again when he visited training camp in Albany, N.Y., less than two weeks ago.
"He has not been bouncing back and forth like Favre," Cofield said. "He has been pretty happy. We saw him up here and he said he missed it but he was content. He has decided to go on to the next phase of his life so I don't look too strongly into that (him playing again)."
Danny Clark, a nine-year veteran who was signed as a free agent in the offseason, will move from weakside linebacker to the strong side to replace Kiwanuka. Gerris Wilkinson will start at weakside linebacker.
Kiwanuka started nine games at defensive end as a rookie and had four sacks. He played in 10 games last season at strongside linebacker before breaking his leg against Detroit in November. The former Boston College product played linebacker in running situations last season, but was switched to the line in passing situations.
"It is something that he, all of us, really wanted, but obviously we didn't want these circumstances for him to get back," Tuck said of Kiwanuka, known as "Kiwi" to teammates. "It is a good thing for him. It is a good thing for this team. He is definitely a D-lineman at heart, and hopefully he can just come back in and not miss a beat."
Many of the defensive players got a chance to talk to Umenyiora on Monday. The two-time Pro Bowler tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee and is scheduled for surgery Tuesday.
"His spirits are still high," Tuck said. "He is another one of those infectious personalities, so his personality and his mind-state are always going to be at the utmost highest, so I am not worried about him on that point."
Giants contact retired defensive end Strahan about return
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. &