Osi Umenyiora Hopes His Best is Yet to Come in Atlanta

March 29, 2013 – 5:50 am by Eric Schmoldt
After a decade in the Big Apple, defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora is headed for Atlanta. Umenyiora worked out a two-year deal with the Falcons, though he has nothing bad to say about the New York Giants in this interview. Umenyiora believes he still hasn’t played his best football and believes he can compete to be the NFL’s top defensive player.

Osi Umenyiora joined 790 The Zone in Atlanta with Archer and Bell to discuss why he picked the Atlanta Falcons, how excited he is to take the team to the next level, his role with the Falcons, playing for Mike Smith, if he looks forward to facing the Giants and how much game he’s got left at 31 years of age.
Why Atlanta?:

“It’s a great situation. It’s a great team, first of all, a great organization. Obviously I live here, so all those things really played a big part into why I chose this team. And they chose me also. It wasn’t just me saying, ‘I’m going to go to Atlanta.’ They wanted me; they felt I could help them out. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

How excited are you about the potential to take this team to the next level?:

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It’s a great situation for me, personally. I get to come to a great team and really showcase what I’m able to do as a defensive end. However I can help this team win, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Did they let you know they want you to come in and really get after the passer?:

“I would assume that’s what my role is going to be here, but you never really know how that’s going to play out. Different situations, different teams call for different things.”

On being fresh now because of the rotation the Giants had working up front:
“We had a nice rotation going on for the last two years, so I don’t have as much wear and tear on my body as I would if I would have been an every-down player for those two years. I think that’s just going to help me out over these next couple years here in Atlanta.”

On the transition to playing for Mike Smith after playing for Tom Coughlin:

“Haha. Well, you know, Coach Coughlin wasn’t as bad as people like to make him out to be. He was a good coach, and all you had to do was follow the things he put in place. I personally didn’t think they were that difficult. But from what I understand about Coach Smith, he’s a real players’ coach. He takes care of the players and they go out there and perform for him. You can’t really ask for more.”

Do you look forward to playing the Giants in the future?:

“I’m not thinking about anything, taking revenge against the Giants or doing any of that. They did nothing but enhance my career and help me out. So if anything, if I play against them and have to do some of the things I’m gonna have to do against them, I’m not going to derive any joy in doing that.”

Is your mindset that you want to be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year?:

“Absolutely. I think that’s my goal. I think I’m a player that’s capable of doing those kind of things. Now, whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but I feel like I need to go out there and perform the way I’m capable of playing. I don’t think I’ve played as well as I think I can play yet. That’s always been a motivation for me.”

Listen to Osi Umenyiora on 790 The Zone in Atlanta here

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