Anyone who bought an Osi Umenyiora No. 90 jersey after he signed with the Atlanta Falcons is going to be in for a surprise.
The defensive end is now wearing No. 50.
Umenyiora took the practice field Wednesday donning the new number after working out a swap with young linebacker Pat Schiller, who spent last season on the practice squad and is back to take another shot at making the team.
”My folks said they didn’t like didn’t like 90 on me,” Umenyiora said.
”I don’t know,” he replied. ”They just didn’t like it.”
Umenyiora has been on quite a numerical journey after signing with the Falcons during the offseason, having spent the first decade of his career with the New York Giants.
He wore No. 72 with the Giants, but that number belonged to Atlanta’s top offensive lineman, Sam Baker. Umenyiora chose No. 90, but that only lasted through two preseason games.
After being urged by his parents to switch, Umenyiora asked about 58, only to be told that number was unofficially retired by the team after being worn by longtime Falcons linebacker Jessie Tuggle. The next choice was 57, but Umenyiora ran into the same issue – that number was once worn by Falcons great Jeff Van Note and is no longer given out.
So, Umenyiora settled on No. 50 – which may be more appropriate, anyway, given he’s been lining up a lot at outside linebacker during the preseason with Atlanta trying out a 3-4 alignment. Linebackers generally wear numbers in the 50s.
Of course, changing numbers meant working out an arrangement with Schiller.
The second-year player couldn’t resist having a little fun when asked about the negotiations.
”I definitely came out on top,” Schiller said. ”He took me to all-you-can-eat Golden Corral.”
Playing along, a reporter pointed out that Umenyiora got off for about $10 – not bad for a guy who signed a two-year, $8.5 million deal with the Falcons.
”Is that what it costs?” Schiller said with a straight face. ”Well, I loaded up on the rolls. I very much stuffed my face.”
Umenyiora chuckled when told of his teammates’ comments.
”Is that what he told you?” Umenyiora asked. ”It was a little more expensive than that. I took care of him.”
Schiller gets the last word in these negotiations.
”There’s a rumor going around a Bugatti,” he said, referring to one of the world’s most expensive cars. ”But you can see the parking lot. It’s not in there.”