Owa Odighizuwa, the third-year, little-used defensive end of the New York Giants, took to Twitter on Monday suggesting he may be leaving or even retiring from the game of football.
“I have all love for everyone.. at the point and time I believe it’s in my best interest to take sometime to get away from the game,” Odighizuwa wrote in the first of three tweets.
“However this is the best platform to express something of the things that has been on my mind for a while” he continued. “I truly apologize that it has to be made known like this.”
Odighizuwa, taken in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of UCLA, was expected to become a Justin Tuck-like end, a complete player that could rush the passer and well as seal off the edge in the running game.
It never came to fruition. The 25 year-old former Bruin star only played four games as a rookie due to injuries and then got buried on the Giants’ depth chart last season behind Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Kerry Wynn and Romeo Okwara.
Odighizuwa has two years remaining on his rookie deal, which would pay him $615k this season and $705k in 2018. The Giants have not commented on Owa’s status with the club.
He recorded two sacks in the Giants’ 27-10 preseason loss to the Miami Dolphins last August. It appeared at the time that Odighizuwa’s future with the club was bright.
“It was good to see him get some nice rushes in there,” head coach Ben McAdoo said after that game. “He was active, and Owa’s a guy…he just has to let it rip. He’s a talented young man, he’s a good looking sucker, and he just has to go out there and let it rip and play fast and play aggressive.”
Then, after the season began, Odighizuwa was used mainly on special teams, getting in on only 15% of the Giants’ defensive snaps. When JPP suffered a sports hernia and was forced to miss the Giants’ final five games, Odighizuwa was not the player inserted in his place. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo opted to go with Wynn and Okwara, two undrafted free agents.
Odighizuwa is not considered a bust because he was injured his rookie season and then was forced to wait his turn after the club re-signed JPP and shelled out big bucks for Vernon. In many cases with the Giants, players doe not flourish until their third season, that is why it is so puzzling that Owa would fall out quit without giving himself a legitimate chance to show his wares.
He would not be the first young NFL player to leave money on the table and walk away from the game. In recent years, we have seen several examples of promising players forgoing their careers before they incur any major health issues. That does not appear to be the case here, however.