EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.— Osi Umenyiora was inducted into the New York Giants Ring of Honor during halftime of Sunday night’s 30-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Umenyiora, alongside Chris Snee, John Johnson, and Jack Lummus became the four newest members of the Giants prestigious club.Following the induction ceremony, Umenyiora made his way to the Giants Legacy Club to meet with the media. Among many topics discussed, former teammate Jason Pierre-Paul became the focal point of the interview with Umenyiora offering his thoughts on the injured defensive end.
"He's in good spirits," said Umenyiora of his conversations with Pierre-Paul. "He seems happy. He's just happy he's alive. You know what I mean? [With] all the stuff that he went through."
Pierre-Paul has yet to sign his $14.8 million franchise-tender and there has been no timetable for his possible return to the team. While many have casted doubt on the former USF star’s ability to play at a Pro Bowl level with only four effective digits, Umenyiora didn’t second guess Pierre-Paul’s determination to prove his critics wrong.
"If anybody can do it, it would be him," said Umenyiora. "He's powerful, athletic football player. I relied more on technique. He uses more athleticism. A guy like that he will be able to overcome that."
Earlier in the summer Umenyiora announced his retirement from football after 11 seasons in the NFL. Nine of Umenyiora’s illustrious 11 seasons were spent with the Giants and now he serves ambassador for the league in England.
The two-time Super Bowl winner finished his extraordinary career with 85 sacks and 35 forced fumbles. As he turned his attention to the 2015 Giants defensive line, Umenyiora noted that it certainly lacks the top tier talent that existed during his heyday.
"It is not every year [that- you are going to have star pass-rushers," Umenyiora said. "They are [doing what they can] with what they got and that is important. They are playing well and trying hard and eventually we will get it going."
The Giants sacked Colin Kaepernick twice in Week 5, but were hardly the defensive force that dominated opposing quarterbacks during Umenyiora’s tenure in New York.
The capacity crowd at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night gave a rousing ovation when Umenyiora’s name was announced, which sent chills down the spine of the former Giant great.
"Unbelievable, unbelievable," Umenyiora said of the reception from fans. "That was crazy. You talk about the New York Giants, this is one of the founding franchises, one of the historic franchises in the NFL. For my name to be up there with all of these names, this is a tremendous honor. Hard to believe."