Osi Umenyiora announced his intent to retire after the 2014 season at a Troy football game last fall. He'd be "hanging up his cleats," as they say. It'd been a wonderful career, one any player could be proud of. But when the season ended, he didn't file retirement papers. In fact, he didn't give us any indication the Falcons' week 17 loss to the Panthers was the last game he'd play.
We've been left to wonder what the Falcons would do with Umenyiora all off-season. His re-signing seemed unlikely, but heck, he could make it easy on them and just retire. Per Vaugh McClure, he won't be retiring, and he expects the Falcons to consider re-signing him.
"Zero plans to retire at this moment," Umenyiora told ESPN. "I feel like I can still play, No. 1. The way things ended last year, I'm just not going to end my career like that. That's not going to happen [...] Do I expect to get a look from the Falcons? Absolutely," Umenyiora said. "I think I did the right things when I was there, especially last year. I did and said all the right things, and I'm in great shape."
I have mixed feelings about Osi. On the one hand, I absolutely believe the Falcons need to turn a page on defense. They need young, viable pass rushers to groom and develop. But at the same time, it's patently obvious that Mike Nolan misused Umenyiora last season.
By all accounts, Mike Smith was furious when Nolan repeatedly held Umenyiora out on third downs in 2014. As a result, he only amassed 2.5 sacks. That does not, however, tell the entire story. He actually rated out positively as a pass rusher in 2014. And as a situational pass rusher, he still has value. The question is whether his value can be replicated by a younger, less expensive player. Of course the Falcons will "consider" re-signing him. They're going to consider all their options.
Umenyiora obviously feels like Atlanta owes him a contract. He is also interested in a return to New York. Both possibilities seem unlikely, and while I hate to say it, he may be missing the writing on the wall. Every athlete has to retire at some point, Umenyiora's time may be now.