The last great linebacker drafted by our New York Giants, a team with a proud linebacker tradition rivaled probably only by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sadly, that was way back in 1993 -- in the eighth round, no less.
Armstead went to five Pro Bowls in nine Giants seasons and was named All Pro in 1997 when he had a career-best 101 solo tackles. He spent the final two seasons of his career with the Washington Redskins. Armstead had 30.5 sacks and 597 tackles during his time with the Giants.
He played his last game in 2003, but officially retired as a Giant in 2007.
"Jessie was one of the greatest linebackers in the history of this franchise," said John Mara, the team's president and chief executive officer. "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 is a true Giant and we are very proud that he has chosen to retire as a Giant."
"Jessie was one of the all-time great Giants," general manager Jerry Reese said. "He was a fearless leader of the defense and one of the most instinctive linebackers I've ever seen. I remember watching him sniff out misdirection plays and screens for no gain or for a loss and I would say to myself, 'Wow, that was big time.' Jessie left it all out there every Sunday."
In that same article, Michael Eisen of Giants.com described Armstead this way.
Armstead played sideline-to-sideline with speed and what can best be described as controlled recklessness. At 6-1 and 240 pounds, he delivered punishing hits to unfortunate ballcarriers. He was also a highly-respected and well-liked locker room leader who privately scolded teammates when they didn't perform to his standards, inspired them to greater deeds when they did and was a stand-up guy for the media.
Most recently, of course, we identify the 98 jersey with defensive tackle Fred Robbins. As a Giant from 2004-2009 Robbins was often terrific as the anchor of the middle of the Giants' defensive line. He had 25 sacks and 161 tackles in his six New York seasons, before leaving as a free agent to join the St. Louis Rams.