The Giants defensive end didn't buy into the hype of the Redskins rookie quarterback prior to the season, and thus said he'd only refer to the Heisman Trophy winner as "Bob."
However, as the two NFC East teams get ready to battle on Sunday, Umenyiora is giving Griffin some respect after the rookie has taken the league by storm in the early going.
"Sir. His name is Sir Robert Griffin," Umenyiora said Thursday, according to the New York Daily News. "All the respect in the world goes to him. A phenomenal football player."
Umenyiora, like the rest of the league, has been impressed with the play of Griffin so far this season. He's completed 70.2 percent of his passes for five touchdowns through six games, and has done even more damage on the ground, rushing for 379 yards and six touchdowns. Perhaps no play was more impressive than Griffin's 76-yard touchdown run last weekend.
That alone has Umenyiora hoping Griffin stays away from him.
I hope he doesn’t come to my side," Umenyiora said. "Hopefully they'll be able to go somewhere else. I don’t want no parts of that myself. He’s just a phenomenal football player."
Regardless of what happens Sunday, though, the rookie has earned the veteran's respect.
"I opened my mouth and I said when he does anything in the league we're going to call him his name," Umenyiora said, according to the paper. "And he's definitely earned whatever he wants to be called; he’s earned that for sure."