FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. Osi Umenyiora, one of the NFL's most feared pass rushers of the last 10 years, has met few obstacles that can stop him.
However, as he contemplated a number change in recent days, Umenyiora ran into a surprising one: the-not-so-glorious history of the Atlanta Falcons.
For his first 10 seasons in the NFL, Umenyiora wore No. 72 with the New York Giants. However, that number is occupied by Falcons veteran left tackle Sam Baker, who enters his sixth season.
He wore No. 90 for the first few months with the team but said his folks "didnt like 90 on me." His first two choices were 58 and 57.
But then he learned those had been taken out of circulation by the club, which has played in only one Super Bowl and endured years of being cellar dwellers in the 1970s and '80s.
When Umenyiora inquired about No. 58, he learned it had been worn by linebacker Jessie Tuggle. No. 57 was worn by longtime center Jeff Van Note. Both players are in the Falcons Ring of Honor.