New York Giants outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari, a second-round pick out of Georgia in 2021, is still waiting for his big NFL moment.
After an impressive debut season in which he set a franchise record for sacks (8.0) by a rookie, Ojulari has been more noted for his absence then his presence.
Last year, a calf injury limited him to just seven games and five starts. This year, he hopes to come right out of the gate firing and stay on the field for an entire season.
On Friday, Ojulari told reporters his plan for staying healthy going forward.
“Really just more stretching,” he said. “More stretching incorporated some yoga into my routine, and those were the main two things that I really added.
“I talked to some people around, teammates and stuff, but for me, I just wanted better for myself. I just want to do whatever I can to help myself and my team.”
“It’s very exciting to be out here and practicing with my teammates.”
– Azeez Ojulari pic.twitter.com/WDZ6giCzNU
— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) August 4, 2023
Ojulari still racked up 5.5 sacks in the limited time (about six full games) he did played last year. Prorated over 17 games that equates to 15.5 sacks, or, a Pro Bowl-like season.
Former Giants great and radio analyst, Carl Banks, recently said he felt Ojualri had the ability to reach that number if all fell into place this season.
Ojulari is not thinking that far ahead. He’s looking to stay healthy first and let the chips fall where they may afterwards.
“I’m just trying to do what I can for the team or whatever I can, no matter what it is, to just help the team win. However, I can be productive for the team, I’m just trying to do the best I can,” he said.
Sitting and watching and then not being 100 percent can take its toll on a player.
“Everything happened for a reason, but it sucked,” said Ojulari. “It’s in the past now and I’m focused on this year and put that behind me and (I’m) ready to go this year, for sure.”
Ojulari said he doesn’t look too much at the numbers. The Giants are trending up and he just wants to do his part to help make the team successful.
“I mean, that’s part of the way,” he said of sacks. “There’re other ways — forced fumbles, TFLs, setting the edge. It all works together.”
And he’ll have competition in getting to the quarterback this year thanks to second-year linebacker Kayvon Thibodoeaux, who recent said he was excited to finally team with Ojulari. The feeling is mutual.
“It’s very exciting because we work so hard. Every day at practice, we push each other, we battle. We just want to be great. You can see the potential when we’re out there practicing, and we just want to make sure we’re all ready to go and just ready to fight and win,” he said.