My favorite image of Osi has to be his sack of Matt Ryan (and tackle Will Svitek) in the 2011 Wild Card game. From that moment on, I knew the Giants were clicking, and indeed they were as Osi and the Giants went on to capture their 2nd Super Bowl victory in 5 years.
“Umi” was a 2nd round pick to the Giants in 2003 out of Troy University. He recorded 1 sack in 13 games his rookie season but followed that with a promising 7-sack sophomore campaign. In 2005 Osi recorded 14.5 sacks (good for 2nd in the league) accompanied by 4 forced fumbles and was selected to the Pro Bowl as well as receiving the prestigious “All-Pro” tag. He missed 5 games in ‘06 but got back up to speed in 2007 and teamed up with Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, and Mathias Kiwanuka to combine for 36.5 regular season sacks (6 of which came from Osi in one game vs. the Eagles) en route to a Super Bowl victory over the then-undefeated New England Patriots.
Strahan retired after the ‘07 Super Bowl victory leaving Osi and Tuck the keys to the kingdom, but things took a turn for the worst when Umi injured his knee in the ‘08 preseason and missed the regular season.
Nobody knew what to expect in 2009 coming off the injury but Osi still managed to sack the quarterback 7 times and recover 4 fumbles. Not knowing if Osi was truly back, the Giants drafted a raw defensive end by the name of Jason Pierre-Paul with the 15th pick of the 2010 draft. Paul got to the QB 4.5 times as a rookie which was nothing compared to Osi’s 11.5 sacks, and maybe more impressively his 10 forced fumbles. Umenyiora was perhaps snubbed by the Pro Bowl voters that season but had bigger plans in 2011. He missed a lot of time to injury that year, but in 9 games he still had 9 sacks, and he added 3.5 more sacks in the postseason - a postseason that ended with Osi and the Giants hoisting another Lombardi Trophy.
The following season, the 31 year-old Osi only had 6 sacks in 16 games (only 4 starts) and the Giants appeared that they were more committed to their new star, Pierre-Paul. Osi spent the last 2 seasons in Atlanta where he tallied 10 sacks and had a couple big return touchdowns.
It was only appropriate that he retired as a Giant. I thought that he might reunite with Coach Spagnuolo for one last run in a blue uniform but that was not the case. 85 sacks, 5 touchdowns, and 2 Super Bowl victories later, what else is there for Osi to prove? I wish him the best of luck in his life after football and thank him for his 9 years of playmaking for the New York Giants.