Robert Ayers, the former Broncos defensive end who signed with the Giants yesterday, will not just be potentially replacing longtime captain Justin Tuck along the defensive line, he will be taking his number too.
The 28-year-old defensive end was given No. 91 Wednesday, when he signed a two-year deal with the G-Men.
Ayers will have very big shoes to fill as the newest member of the Giants’ defensive line rotation. In five NFL seasons, he has racked up 12 career sacks. Tuck had 11 last season.
Ayers is the fourth former Bronco to sign with the Giants this offseason, so he’ll be surrounded by familiar faces. Still, the young pass rusher has much to prove as the guy being brought in to replace a New York sports icon.
The decision to allow a player to immediately claim the No. 91 is interesting and likely an indication that the Giants may never retire Tuck’s number. Offensive tackle Justin Pugh claimed former defensive end Osi Umenyiora’s No. 72 last offseason (but has since returned to his college number of 67). However, legendary defensive end Michael Strahan’s No. 92 has gone untouched since he retired in 2008. It will likely stay that way, as he will be entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer