EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -The New York Giants moved Mathias Kiwanuka back to defensive end to replace the injured Osi Umenyiora on Monday, a decision that decreases the already slim chances of the Super Bowl champions needing to make a push to get seven-time Pro Bowler Michael Strahan out of retirement.
``Obviously this is not the way you want it to happen but it's an opportunity for a lot of guys, and I am one of the guys who has to step up and take advantage of it,'' said Kiwanuka, who walked off the field with defensive line coach Mike Waufle well after teammates left the field following a short morning walk through.
The Giants' first-round draft pick in 2006, Kiwanuka was moved from defensive end to strongside linebacker last season so the team could get its best 11 defenders on the field.
However, he has played almost his whole career as a lineman, including his first season with the Giants and last season on third-down situations before breaking a leg against Detroit in November.
Coach Tom Coughlin refused to speculate on whether the Giants were still interested in Strahan, the 36-year-old who retired in June after a 15-year career that was capped by the Giants' stunning win over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. He said he has not been involved in discussions on the topic and he has not talked to Strahan since Umenyiora suffered a season-ending torn meniscus in his left knee on Saturday night against the Jets.
``I'm more concerned with the team that we have right here in our locker room and that this team mentally prepares itself as best we can,'' Coughlin said when pressed.
General manager Jerry Reese said that injuries are a part of the game and that the team was fortunate to have players capable of picking up the slack.
``As always, we'll continue to research all of our options,'' Reese said.
Strahan, who is vacationing in Greece, turned down a $6 million contract offer in the offseason. He has since signed to work on Fox Sports NFL pregame shows on Sunday.
Strahan told the NFL Network on Sunday that he has not heard from the Giants.
``I haven't heard from anybody else, so to say if I would or wouldn't is premature,'' Strahan said. ``So I'm enjoying my retired life right now.''
Teammates tended to doubt that Strahan would return.
``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 defensive end Justin Tuck, who replaced Strahan at left end.
Defensive tackle Barry Cofield said Strahan gave no indication that he wanted to play again when he visited the Giants at training camp in Albany, N.Y., less than two weeks ago.
``He has not been bouncing back and forth like (Brett) 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.

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