"This here is a great moment and a sad moment as well," Armstead said. "My blood always had New York Giants in it."
Armstead, an eighth-round draft choice in 1993, spent nine seasons with Big Blue, never missing a game and earning five Pro Bowl berths along the way.
"Jessie was one of the greatest linebackers in the history of this franchise," Giants President/CEO John Mara said. "He was a team leader who always gave 100 percent. We could always count on him to make a big play at a critical moment in the game. He was a true Giant and we are proud that he has chosen to retire as a Giant."
After so many good times in New York, Armstead was released prior to the 2002 season. He said he never recovered.
"I never got over it," said Armstead, who finished out his playing career with two seasons in Washington. "It was difficult when I left."
Armstead's mates recalled his intensity and ability to give 100 percent – 100 percent of the time.
"He never missed a game," Michael Strahan said. "If he said it, he backed it up.
"I've never played with anyone I've held in such high esteem."
"I never backed down from nobody," Armstead said. "I'm not scared of any fight."
Amani Toomer recalled an exchange he had with Armstead during his rookie season. Armstead broke up a pass intended for Toomer, then the two exchanged words and shoves.
"I had Jessie in my face," Toomer laughed. "(I realized) this is a different league."
Toomer noted Armstead's intensity is what set him apart. "I never remember Jessie not being up for a game," he said.
Armstead a Career Giant
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