“I am never gonna say never. … But I’m looking forward to continuing to work with him,” Smith said, via NFL.com.
There has been some speculation that he could be on the chopping block, however, Smith told reporters that Umenyiora did an “outstanding job” as a player and mentor for the Falcons last season.
Umenyiora has said previously that he would like finish out his contract with the team, but didn’t know for certain if he would be back.
“I would love to stay, and I think I am,” Umenyiora said, via ESPN.com. “But you really never know what’s going to happen.”
Umenyiora, 32, signed a two-year deal worth $8.5 million that included $5 million guaranteed last year. The Falcons could free up $3.5 million by releasing him, according to OverTheCap.com.
In his first year with the team, he produced 47 tackles, 7.5 sacks an interception and three forced fumbles.
Considering that the Falcons have limited depth outside of Umenyiora at defensive end, it seems likely that they will allow him play out the remainder of his contract with the team.