EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jessie Armstead signed a one-day contract Wednesday so he could retire as a New York Giant.
``I am thankful the organization gave me the opportunity,'' Armstead said. ``My blood, I always had New York Giants in it.''
To make room for Armstead on the roster, the Giants placed starting fullback Jim Finn on season-ending injured reserve. Finn had shoulder surgery Monday.
Taken in the eighth round of the 1993 draft, Armstead played nine seasons for the Giants, helping them reach the Super Bowl in 2000.
A special teams standout for his first three seasons, Armstead became the starting weakside linebacker in 1996. He had five straight seasons of more than 100 tackles, including a career-best 134 in 1997 when he first made the Pro Bowl.
``Jessie was one of the greatest linebackers in the history of this franchise,'' Giants chief executive John Mara said. ``He was a team leader who always gave 100 percent. We could always count on him to make a big play at a critical moment in the game. He is a true Giant and we are very proud that he has chosen to retire as a Giant.''
Coach Tom Couhglin had Armstead speak to the team about his reasons for retiring as a Giants after Wednesday's morning practice.
``I know from going against him, he was a tough, tough hard-nosed, competitive guy to play and that translated to how he played and I wanted our players to hear that that Giants' blue flowed through his veins,'' Coughlin said.
Armstead was released by the Giants in 2002 and signed with Washington, playing with the Redskins for two seasons. He signed with Carolina in 2004 but was placed on injured reserve with a biceps injury.
``I always played with a chip,'' Armstead said. ``I always carried that. I never backed down from nobody and I was never scared of a fight. That's my attitude and I always carried that.''
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