Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 3/28/13
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, and a team that fell just short of a Super Bowl berth a few months ago Umenyiora said he is joining the most talented team he has ever been on. That's a big statement for a player who won two Super Bowl trophies as a member of the New York Giants. When questioned about it later, Umenyiora stood behind his words. "Talent is just on paper," he said. "Plenty of talented teams get punched in the mouth ... The difference is all mentality. It's all the players: how well they play together, how well they come together as a team and that's going to determine whether we're going to be good or not." Indeed, with free-agent signings like Umenyiora and running back Steven Jackson on top of retaining All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez, Pro-Bowl safety William Moore and starting left tackle Sam Baker, the expectations will be through the roof. After cutting John Abraham on March 1, the Falcons finally landed his replacement in the form of Umenyiora. According to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the two-year deal will cost the Falcons 12.2 million, with 5 million guaranteed in 2013. In Umenyiora, the Falcons get a player who is 3 12 younger than Abraham, at 31. They also have one whose production has slipped in recent seasons, going from 11.5 sacks in 2010 to nine in 11 to six last season (Abraham had 10). From 2010-12, Abraham totaled 32.5 sacks in 46 games, or 0.7 per game. Over the same time period, Umenyiora has totaled 26.5 in 41 games, a slightly lower rate at 0.65, but the fact that Abraham stayed markedly healthier is significant. Umenyiora missed seven games in 2011 a year the Giants won the Super Bowl but narrowly qualified for the postseason, which could have been attributed, part, to Umenyioras absence.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Andrew Luck: Feels `as good as I've ever felt` for training camp

Amar'e Stoudemire announces retirement after signing one-day contract with Knicks

Report: Gregory failed multiple drug tests since suspension

Olympian Abby Johnston: Worst thing about Olympic village is no Pokemon

Reggie Bush reportedly closing in on contract with Bills

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Eric Berry planning to no-show training camp

Eagles could have interest in Gordon if Browns trade him

Report: Fitzpatrick, Jets not likely to have deal before camp

Report: Anquan Boldin signs one-year deal with Detroit Lions

Formula One CEO's mother-in-law kidnapped in Brazil

Mike McCarthy ends weight talk, declares Eddie Lacy ‘ready’

Iowa researchers say they can optimize Monday Night Football ratings with scheduling

Terrelle Pryor can visit Ohio State as five-year ban comes to a close

Rudy Gay admits to having ‘no idea’ about what the Kings are doing

Report: Kansas City Chiefs' Justin Houston likely to miss regular-season games

Padres reportedly making progress on Cashner trade

NFL Network to stream on PlayStation Vue

Report: Eagles’ Nigel Bradham charged for assaulting cabana boy

Rudy Gay underwent minor Achilles procedure this summer

Bashaud Breeland brought puppies to Washington camp

Tyler Johnson 'threw up a couple of times' over $50M deal

Should the Yankees hold a fire sale?

Five young soccer players to keep an eye on at Rio Olympics

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker