Prince Amukamara’s left index finger tapped against the podium again and again as he worked through a long list of people to thank.
When he’d gotten through John Mara and Steve Tisch, Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese, through his teammates with the Giants, Bears and Jaguars and so many behind-the-scenes employees, arriving at his parents, the walls broke down on the emotional facade.
“I didn’t want to cry, but I couldn’t even last two minutes,” Amukamara said, and the tears flowed.
The former cornerback, who won a Super Bowl as a rookie with the Giants in 2011, has not played in the NFL since 2019. But he made retirement official on Thursday, signing a one-day deal so he could do so with the Giants.
With his family in attendance at Quest Diagnostics Training Center, Amukamara spoke for nearly 20 minutes, thanking so many who helped him along the way. But none more than his father, Romanus, and mother, Christie.
“My mom and dad came here as immigrants,” he said. “They worked hard, man. They worked hard to provide for me and my five sisters. And New York and New Jersey was actually the first states that they came in. My dad worked hard to bring my mom and older sister here from Nigeria. And they really showed me and my sisters what it means to work hard and sacrifice.”
Though an injury stopped Amukamara from contributing early in his rookie season, he played in every playoff game and contributed a key interception in a regular-season win over the Eagles while making his NFL debut. He went on to be a major piece of the Giants’ secondary through 2015, after which he signed with the Jaguars.
He played his last game in 2019 but has since had training camp and practice squad stints with the Saints, Cardinals and Raiders, the last of which in 2021.
Amukamara said he is unsure what retirement holds, but the immediate future involves being a dad to triplets.
“I tried to talk about coaching or front office stuff with my wife and she ixnayed that real fast,” he said. “For sure, I’m gonna be 80 percent dad. I’m gonna ease into that role.”