Osi Umenyiora has played more sparingly in recent years with Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul serving as the New York Giants’ starting defensive ends. Now, with free agency looming, Umenyiora thinks it’s time to start a new chapter in his career.
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"I just feel fortunate to be able to play 10 years in New York in this city and that organization," Umenyiora said on ESPN’s The Michael Kay Show earlier this week. "It was a great run, a great ride. I think now is probably time to move on."
Umenyiora has been a staple in the Giants’ defense since the G-Men surprised everyone by drafting him in the second round (56th overall) in 2003. He earned Pro Bowl selections in 2005 and 2007, and reached double-digit sack totals on three separate occasions, including the ’05 campaign in which he racked up 14.5.
The 31-year-old’s role has diminished in recent years, though, with the emergence of Pierre-Paul and Tuck’s continued role in the New York pass rush. Umenyiora, who started just four games this season despite playing in all 16, had a lengthy contract dispute last offseason, and he’ll likely look for a new home where he’ll once again become a starter.
Umenyiora also wonders what else he needs to do in the Meadowlands, as his two Super Bowl rings only add to the impressive career he’s carved out since joining the franchise.
"There’s really not much left for me to accomplish here in New York," said Umenyiora, who insists he’s earned the right to become a free agent. "If you look at the things that have been done here, what is there that’s to be done that I haven’t done? We won the championship twice. I think I’ve been a Pro Bowl player.
"Everything has pretty much gone better than I could have ever imagined here in New York. So if there is a time to leave, I think it would probably be now, but there is really no telling what’s going to happen."
Giants general manager Jerry Reese has stated that Umenyiora is one of his favorite players of all time, but football is still a business. Perhaps Umenyiora is right in that it might just be time for the two sides to part ways.