Osi Umenyiora signed with the New York Giants today. Though his was a popular name brought up to supplement the Giants' pass rush when Jason Pierre-Paul was injured, Osi's new contract has nothing to do with 2015.
Osi's contract isn't nearly as long-term as a whole season. He is once again a Giant so that he can retire a Giant.
The Giants selected Osi Umenyiora out of Troy University in the second round of the 2003 draft. By the end of 2005, Osi had established himself as one of the league's premier pass rushers, notching a combined 21.5 sacks over his sophomore and third seasons -- 7.0 and 14.5 sacks respectively. Osi specialized in the speed rush, using his almost other-worldly first step and ability to bend around the edge to embarrass tackles and terrorize quarterbacks.
He totaled double digit sacks in four of his nine seasons with the New York Giants, two of which helped the Giants Super Bowl championships. On no day was No. 72 more terrifying to an opposing offense than on September 30th, 2007. That day, Osi set the franchise record for most sacks in a single game with six of them against the Philadelphia Eagles. That game helped to wipe away the memory of a pathetic start to the season in which the Giants' defense allowed a combined 80 points in just two games. Osi's performance in the fourth game of the season helped to cement the Giants' status as one of the defenses to be feared around the NFL. It was that defense that helped to carry the Giants to the Super Bowl and hold the most prolific offense the league had ever seen to just 14 points.
As well as an elite first step and the ability to bend around the edge, Osi also mastered a tomahawk chop to separate quarterbacks from the football. It was a moved that Osi employed to perfection in 2010, which was likely his finest individual year. While his 11.5 sacks are a nice total, it isn't particularly impressive. What is impressive is that 10 of those sacks also resulted in forced fumbles. In a season where the wide receivers couldn't hang on to the ball and tip drills abounded, Osi Umenyiora regularly delivering game-changing plays went a long way to the Giants finishing with a 10-6 record.
The following season Osi only played nine games, but his return from an early-season injury helped spark a defensive resurgence that helped the Giants capture their fourth Superbowl title. That year Osi was credited with nine sacks in his nine game regular season, but he also collected three and a half sacks in the Giants four game run to the championship.
Off the field Osi's relationship with the Giants' front office was often contentious, as he and general manager Jerry Reese battled back and forth over his contract. Osi ultimately left the Giants in 2013 to join the Atlanta Falcons.
But now Osi Umenyiora has returned home to end his career where it began. Although he was often a source of frustration as much as elation, Osi holds his own special place in the Giants' pantheon of pass rushers.
As he ends his career, let's all take a moment to remember the good times and thank Osi for all the memories.