Multiple media sources are reporting that the Giants will bring back former defensive end Osi Umenyiora on a ceremonial one-day contract so that he can retire as a member of the team that he started his career with.
Umenyiora was drafted by the Giants out of Troy with the 56th overall pick in the 2003 Draft. After spending the first 10 years of his career with New York and winning a pair of Super Bowl championships, Umenyiora joined the Falcons and played with them in 2013 and 2014. Now that he’s at the end of his football career, it looks like he wants to return to the team that he made the most memories with.
Most of those memories were good ones, as Umenyiora first made a name for himself with New York’s NFC East champion team in 2005. During that campaign, he set a career high with 14.5 sacks, went to his first Pro Bowl, and made the NFL All-Pro team for the only time in his career.
After a disappointing 2006 season that was shortened by injury, Umenyiora was back to being an elite pass rusher in 2007. He recorded 13.0 sacks that year, including six in a single game against Philadelphia to set a Giants franchise record. That legendary performance helped the Giants qualify for the postseason, where Umenyiora was part of the incredible defensive line that helped the Giants beat the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
A preseason knee injury forced Umenyiora to miss the entire 2008 season, but that wouldn’t do much to slow down his career. In 2009, Umenyiora recorded seven sacks and four forced fumbles, and in 2010 he upped those figures to 11.5 sacks and an amazing 10 forced fumbles.
That was the final year in which Umenyiora would record double-digit sacks, but he did come through with three-and-a-half of them during New York’s second magical playoff run in 2011. Once again, Umenyiora was a big part of a Giants Super Bowl champion team that upset New England in the final game.
Head coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning rightfully get plenty of credit for leading the Giants to two of their four Super Bowl titles, but the group of defensive lineman that took the field during Coughlin’s tenure deserves plenty of kudos as well. Without guys like Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, and Umenyiora, the Giants don’t have either of those titles, and that’s what makes the latter’s legacy with the team so important.