FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. Osi Umenyiora was 13 when he emigrated from London to Auburn, Ala.
His first sport was the European version of football. The nimble 6-foot-3, 255-pounder still likes to dabble in the game, and that it has helped his footwork as a premier pass-rusher in the American version of the sport that shares the same name.
Umenyiora only played two years of high school football, and so the big Southeastern Conference powerhouse in his hometown did not recruit him. No one did, he said. Instead, he was forced to go 75 miles away to play at Troy State (now Troy).
For 14 years, Umenyiora's parents have lived 90 miles away from Auburn in metro Atlanta, as does his 5-year-old son. Umenyiora has called Atlanta home for 10 years; and so when he officially signed with the Falcons on Thursday, he called it a dream never allowing himself to imagine this would become real, as it seemed too good to be true.
In joining the Falcons the top seed in the NFC playoffs in 2010 and '12...