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Jermaine Eluemunor vows to match Osi Umenyiora's 'energy' in his old jersey number


The Giants' logo is known across the world – literally.

The first football game Jermaine Eluemunor ever saw was the NFL’s debut in London, where the Giants defeated the Dolphins, 13-10, on a soggy pitch at Wembley Stadium. It was late October of 2007 and Eluemunor, who had spent his life in England up to that point, was about to turn 13. It sparked a football journey that brought him to New Jersey, Scranton, Texas A&M, Baltimore, New England, Miami, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, and ultimately back to New Jersey this week.

"For me, my excitement comes from this franchise as a whole," Eluemunor said in his first media session with Giants reporters after he signed as a free agent. "I grew up in Jersey when I moved from London. Also, the first team I ever saw play football was the Giants, and that helmet and that uniform just sticks out to me. It's known across the world. For me coming here to this franchise was always a dream."

Of course, the Giants team he first saw went on to glory that season and repeated as Super Bowl champions four years later. It wasn't until 2022, the first year of the Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll era, that the Giants won another postseason game. The encore, however, resulted in a six-win season.

The acquisition of Eluemunor – and a host of other newcomers, including two-time Pro Bowler Brian Burns and fellow offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. – are part of the plan to get back on track.

"Who knows? Maybe I'm the missing piece for helping them get towards that," the 6-foot-4, 330-pound Eluemunor said. "My goal is to help them win and be on the offensive line and protect (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) and open up holes for the running backs and let the receivers catch the balls down the field and do my job. At the end of the day, I'm here to do my job and to help this team win and add on to the culture. I feel like they have a really good culture here with Daboll and (assistant head coach/offensive coordinator) Mike Kafka. I'm really excited to be here. I think this team is really on the up and up, and like I said, I'm really excited to play a part in that."

And he will do it in No. 72.

Worn throughout college and most of his NFL career, the number will be familiar to Giants fans. Osi Umenyiora won two Super Bowls and climbed to fourth on the franchise's career sacks list in No. 72. Like the 2015 Ring of Honor inductee, Eluemunor was born in London and has Nigerian heritage.

"Osi is my guy," Eluemunor said. "I asked him if I could wear that number because they asked me if I wanted to wear 72, but I knew the history behind it, the player that wore it, and really represented that number well for the Giants. I asked him about it, and he said, 'Absolutely, do your thing.'"

It came with a caveat, though.

"I made a promise to him that I will make sure I play to an extremely high level for him and match his energy on the field," Eluemunor said of Umenyiora, who is building the NFL's Africa program in his post-playing days. "If you watch him, you can see the energy he brought to the game and the excitement and just how happy he was to play the game. I plan to follow suit and try to recreate that. But as offensive linemen, if you watch my film, I think you see I bring excitement and passion and love of this game. I love being the offensive lineman. It's the coolest thing in the world to put your hands in the dirt and just hit people for fun and get paid to do it, and you can do it with a smile on your face, too. I'm really excited for that. I was over the moon that 72 was available. To get to represent him and the number 72 as a Giant, that's dream come true for me."


Meanwhile, there is more woven into this homecoming than a jersey.

Elumenor, who moved to Denville, N.J., as a teenager and played at Morris Knolls High School, will reunite with offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo. They go back to their days together in New England, where both arrived in 2019. Bricillo began his NFL career as a coaching assistant before taking over as the Patriots' line coach in 2020. Eluemunor then moved on to the Raiders in 2021, and Bricillo joined him the following season.

In his first season with the Raiders in 2022, Bricillo's unit helped the Raiders' offense rush for 2,059 yards, the team's most in a single season since 2011. Raiders rushers were stopped for a loss or no gain an NFL-low 68 times in 2022, and Josh Jacobs led the league with 1,653 yards.

Overall, Eluemunor has played in 87 games for the Ravens (2017-18), Patriots (2019-20), and Raiders (2021-23). He has made 45 regular-season starts – 32 at right tackle, seven at left tackle, and six at right guard. He has also appeared in two postseason games.

"If you really look at my production, my best two years came under Carm," Eluemunor said. "To have someone like him that just believes in you and is going to go to war and bat for you up in that room up there and give you tough love and also do what needs to be done and help you in ways that you need to be helped, that goes a long way.

"I've been around the league long enough to know that not every team is blessed to have an o-line coach that knows the game like him but then is also going to be as technical as him and knows the things he knows. He got to study under one of the best o-line coaches, if not the best o-line coach that ever coached in the NFL, (former Patriots offensive line coach) Dante Scarnecchia. To have that experience, that's huge. I think that will be really huge for the young guys to learn from him and take his coaching to help them take that next step in their progression as an offensive lineman."

Eluemunor added, "Me and Carm have really grown together in the league. If you really look at every year, I've only not been with Carm for one year of my career, which is when I got to Vegas with Jon Gruden. Me and Carm, our progression has been similar, him as a coach and me as a player. It's having that trust in him and belief that if I give him everything I have he is going to give me everything he has, and he is going to coach me hard and love me harder, and I'm going to go out there and do everything I can to just show how good of a coach Carm is. I think he's gotten a lot better as a coach over the last couple years because he's really started believing in himself and he is a really talented coach, and he can really coach people and help them improve their game. I think you see that with the offensive lines we've had in Las Vegas. We haven't had the best record, but if you really look at the offensive line, we've been pretty dominant, and that's because of Carm's teaching and then also our love of the game."


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