Osi Umenyiora said he was surprised not only to hear from Jason Pierre-Paul recently, but also to see him. After they failed to connect on a traditional cell phone call, Pierre-Paul dialed Umenyiora back in a much more intimate way.
"He FaceTimed me," Umenyiora said on Wednesday with a chuckle. "I thought it was weird FaceTiming with another guy. I'd never really done that before. I was like 'Hi Jason,' and he's waving at me like, 'What's going on, Osi?'"
Umenyiora said what most others who have been in touch with Pierre-Paul lately have reported: that he is in "good spirits" and "seemed like himself." But Pierre-Paul is not with the Giants as he rehabs his injured hand from a fireworks accident on July 4. He has had a distant relationship with the team since the incident.
"Whenever he's ready he's going to be back, there is no doubt about that," Umenyiora said. "This team needs him and I think he knows that. Everybody knows that. He's a truly dominant football player, I haven't seen one like him since [Michael] Strahan honestly. I think the team needs him, he needs this team. He has to come back and I think he will come back when he's strong."
Umenyiora announced his retirement on Wednesday, and part of his message was regret for the turbulence he often created in regard to his contract as well as his education on other franchises after spending the last two seasons with the Falcons. He called himself a "knucklehead" at times during his spats with management and said he appreciated his time in New York more so after he left.
"There is nothing like being a New York Giant," he said, "and I wish some of the players could truly understand that."
He did not direct that comment to Pierre-Paul specifically, but clearly he was part of the large audience to which he spoke. Perhaps he will relay that message personally the next time the two are on FaceTime.