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You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>INTERVIEW with American Footballer: Nnamdi Asomugha
Sunday, 07 August 2011 14:15

INTERVIEW with American Footballer: Nnamdi Asomugha

Written by Philadelphia eagles News
Nnamdi Asomugha Nnamdi Asomugha Raiders

Nnamdi Asomugha, an American born Nigerian,  became the latest star cornerback to join the Eagles, signing a $60 million, five-year deal on Friday. His latest interview.

Asomugha was born in July 6, 1981  at Lafayette, Louisiana and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, California and Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, California before transferring to and graduating from Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California, playing high school basketball and football. Asomugha is of Nigerian descent. His both parents are Nigerians.

On working with President Bill Clinton and his connection to Nigeria: “I’m Nigerian-American, both parents are Nigerian. There’s a lot of work that the Asomugha foundation does back in Nigeria and helping out with orphans, widows, and people in need back there. That’s always going to be a big connection for us and is always going to be something that we do. Working with President Clinton has been great because he’s a guy that’s always connected there as well. It’s something that I’ll continue to do, and he’s a big football fan, so everyone is excited right now.”

On the motivation provided by being on a winning team, and the frustrations caused by being on a losing team: “Obviously it’s frustrating to not win.  The number one goal when you come into this league is to win the championship.  You hear every team say it every year, you know, “We want to win the Super Bowl, that’s our goal”.  It’s the only reason you play.  So when you’re not winning and not making it to the playoffs that can be frustrating.  Obviously, I’ve seen what the Eagles have done in the past, the winning tradition that they have, and it excites me.  It excites everyone here.  Obviously now were looking into the future to see what we can do with this team, but they’re winners.”

Nnamdi with former President Clinton

On what makes him believe this team can win a championship, even though the Eagles have never won one: “It’s a talented team.  I’ve been on talented teams before.  I think from top to bottom in the organization its first class, with the head coach, president, GM, owner, all the way down to the players.  It has a championship feel to it.  Obviously you still have to go out on the field and you have to perform.  All we can do is go out and work and expect to bring back victories.”

On what drew him to the Eagles: “Like I said, there was so much from top to bottom that they had, and they were aggressive.  When a team wants you, you can feel it.  When you feel that match, I don’t think you can shy away from that.”

On quarterbacks throwing away from him and if that will continue with another talented corner opposite him: “I’ve played with good corners in Oakland, and I was taught by great corners in Oakland, so I understand how it is sometimes to not be thrown at.  There are times when you are thrown at and you always have to be on your toes.  There’s no telling how it’s going to be here, but I just want to be able to come out and be able to make plays and do that a lot more than I’ve done.  I’ve had many opportunities.  I’ve had seasons where I’ve made eight interceptions, and done this, that, and the other.  But, you know, you want to be able to do that and help your team out as much as possible.  I feel that those things can happen here.”

On the draw of playing with QB Michael Vick: “It’s a big draw, because you know that he’s a great player and talented player.  I spoke to him at the Pro Bowl and he did a mini-recruiting pitch there.  That was good to feel.  Obviously [WR] DeSean [Jackson] has been texting and calling throughout the off-season.  Having Vick here, and the rest of the talent that’s here, I think that’s the big draw.  Obviously no single player can control the team.  When you get a group of talented guys like that and guys that are ready to win, it’s impressive.”

On his charity work and if he plans on continuing it in Philadelphia: “I always said that no matter where I was I would continue the work in the community, and everything outside of that.  You can’t play football forever, and I do believe that while you’re playing you have to use that platform in some sort of way.  If it’s helping out in the community, then that’s fine.  If its other things, that’s great.  For me it was community and it has always been.  I definitely plan on keeping that up here with the organization here in Philadelphia.  To be quite honest, the Eagles have been one of the most active, community-driven organizations in all of football.  I think it’s a great match in that area.”

On having never been to the playoffs: “It was depressing.  Like I told you before, there’s one main reason why you’re playing.  You want to win.  Obviously, it would be a little depressing.  I wouldn’t watch when the playoffs would come around.  Maybe I would see some highlights.  If I had to go on television and speak about the playoffs, than I would watch a couple things, some highlights here and there.  It’s depressing as a player.  So you always want to put yourself in position to win games, and that’s what I’m doing now.”

On how long he has been considering the Eagles and whether they were his first choice: “When I spoke to the owner and the president here, I told them, quite honestly, once March came around and we started thinking that there might be a chance that I’m not going to be back in Oakland, we never knew what could happen or if there was going to be a process of trying to re-sign me or anything like that.  When we said there was a possibility that I won’t come back, then obviously my team and myself, we had to start looking at other teams.  To a man, and woman, everybody that was on my team, they knew that the number one team was the Eagles from March when we were looking at teams.  There were a handful of teams at that point.  When the Eagles became a possibility, we knew it was a match.”

On whether the scheme and terminology is different from Oakland: “I just got here, so I have no idea.  From what I’ve seen them do in the past I would say yes it’s different.  I don’t think there are any teams that play man-to-man the entire game, so I would say yes, it’s going to be different from what I’ve been in.  It’s a new coordinator now, so I don’t know if it’s going to be similar to the past.  I just got here, but I’ll look in the playbook and try to get into it as much as possible and then see.”

On whether a three cornerback situation is workable: “It’s very workable.  It’s the best situation.  Obviously teams are passing a lot more.  [Jokingly] There are rules, I don’t want to say ‘catered to the offense’ because I don’t want to get fined or anything, but there are rules that are interesting and allows the offense to be more explosive.  So you want to have as many defensive players, defensive playmakers, and defensive backs as you can.  If that’s the case it’s very workable and it could mean some very impressive things on our end.”

Nnamdi Asomugha Nnamdi Asomugha #21 of the Oakland Raiders is introduced against the New Orleans Saints during an NFL preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 29, 2009 in Oakland, California.

 

On his thoughts and excitement about the influx of talent on the Eagles: “Obviously it’s very exciting.  I was on the plane coming here when I was hearing about [DT] Cullen Jenkins, and what was happening with that.  We might not be done yet.  I think there’s more that could even be coming.  It’s exciting.  Any time you can get this many players that can go out and put their best on the field and bring back victories it’s exciting.  Obviously we still have to go out there and play.  Everything looks great right now, but we still have to gel, we still have to come together and work, and bring those victories.”

On whether the Eagles defense will be able to be effective with a lot of new players coming in: “Absolutely. I think the number one thing that I can take away from the guys coming in is that obviously this was already a smart team and a talented team as I’ve said probably about 20 times. The number one thing I can take away from the new guys coming in is that everyone has that football knowledge and instinct type of thing to them. It’s not just great, talented athletes. They’re guys that can think and can move the game mentally. I think that anytime you bring that into any organization, you can pick up and you can gel a lot easier. If it was on talent alone, there might be some questions but we brought in some smart guys.”

On working with President Bill Clinton and his connection to Nigeria: “I’m Nigerian-American, both parents are Nigerian. There’s a lot of work that the Asomugha foundation does back in Nigeria and helping out with orphans, widows, and people in need back there. That’s always going to be a big connection for us and is always going to be something that we do. Working with President Clinton has been great because he’s a guy that’s always connected there as well. It’s something that I’ll continue to do, and he’s a big football fan, so everyone is excited right now.”

On whether he could have gotten more money if he signed elsewhere: “There was money out there. There was a market out there with numbers that the media assumed I wanted. It’s funny, you know, you don’t pay as much attention to it because everything happened so fast, but you heard the apocryphal stories about the things that I’m expecting as far as numbers. It was out there. The thing I wanted most of all was to be in the right situation. My team and myself, we felt like this was it regardless of money, regardless of location, and regardless of the supposed things I want to do after football. Regardless of all that, we had to make a clear decision as to what was best for us.”

On whether other moves the Eagles made concerned him: “To be quite honest, I wasn’t concerned it wouldn’t happen because the Eagles never really seemed to be in it. Even for me, you guys were surprised, but even for me. In the offseason, you’re dealing with specific teams and the funny thing about it is you don’t have time to take visits because it’s not a true four month or so free agency. Anybody who knows me knows that I like to take my time with decisions. I’m on the phone and it’s like, ‘Yes or no, what do you want to do, we need to know,’ and I’m like, ‘Give me five minutes,’ ‘We don’t have five minutes, you have to make a decision.’ Everything came really quickly and then when the Eagles expressed interest and became so aggressive and said, ‘We have a chance, we want this, let’s do it.’ It didn’t have to go much further than there.”

On what the Eagles have over other contenders who wanted him: “It was hard to explain because there were so many factors that go into it. If I had never been thinking about the Eagles and started thinking about it when the Eagles came into play, then I don’t know what would have happened. I did it the way I like to do it and making decisions early, so that decision was made in March. Once we made that decision and we put all the pieces together, marked off the boxes, and saw what was the best fit, when that comes around full circle you just have to go with it. That’s what happened.”

nnamdi-asomugha nnamdi-asomugha

On whether it took a leap of faith to come to the Eagles: “Not a risk factor, but in everything there is a leap of faith that you take. It’s not necessarily that there is a risk like ‘that’s terrible’ or anything like that, but there’s a leap of faith and you have to do it. In whatever team I would have joined, that would’ve happened because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You can’t sit up and proclaim that you’re going to win it all, you have to be focused and you don’t know what’s going to happen. Obviously there was that chance that you’re taking, and they’re doing the same thing with me taking that chance. When you find the best fit both ways, you have to make it happen and that’s what we did.”

On changing his number: “It’s not the biggest deal. Obviously I’ve had #21 my entire professional career, which has been great. [Cornerback Joselio] Hanson has been here and he’s had it. I’m not going to come in here and try and take over everything. He’s been here, so it was point blank: ‘Does it mean something to you?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, it does.’ That’s all I needed to hear. We don’t have to go into money, let me buy it from you, start to go back and forth. Let’s move on, it’s the jersey number. Before all of that, you’re the football player. I’m still going to go out there and play my best regardless.”

On whether he knew CB Asante Samuel or CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie before he came here: “Not really. I know Asante a little bit from Pro Bowls, and we talk while we’re up there. I’ve admired his game since forever. Anyone who knows me, I’ve always said that if there is a playmaker at the cornerback position, it’s him. He really knows how to go after the ball and I’ve always admired him. Coming here was very exciting in that regard, knowing he was here. With [Rodgers-Cromartie], you’ve always watched him from afar. I’ve never really spoken to him, but obviously I know that he’s a talented young player. It’s a great situation to be in.”

On the difference in demeanor between himself and Samuel: “There’s this thing about styles, but to be honest, I’m a football player. I play within my scheme and try to do the best for the coaches that are teaching me. If they tell me that they want me to do this, I’m going to go out there and do it, and I’m going to put my best foot forward. There’s no one way of doing anything. Before being a so-called shutdown corner or cover corner, you’re a football player. I played safety in college, I had to learn the cornerback position and I’ve come a long way. I struggled my first two years in the league. I don’t necessarily put it into having a style, I put it into being a football player and doing what I’m supposed to do. It’ll mesh. I’ll make it mesh.”

On Michael Vick’s pitch at the Pro Bowl: “It was the same thing that a lot of other guys say quick, ‘It’d be great to have you. We’d be taking another step.’ That sort of thing. I saw him today and his first words were that we made it happen. And it was right, we did.”

On any comments for his fans in Oakland: “What gets lost in this is how difficult it is to leave an organization and a place that you’ve been for so long. I’m from California, obviously from Los Angeles. I spent a little less than half of my life in the Bay area. I went to [University of California] Berkeley, so that’s steps away from Oakland. It’s a difficult thing to do. The excitement is where I am now and I’m with the Philadelphia Eagles, let’s go win a championship and put our best foot forward, and I understand that. But it was difficult leaving there. Obviously there are people that are missed that I’ve been calling and texting people. It’s the nature of the business. I’m not moving to Mozambique. I’m playing for a new team and this is what I’m a part of and we’re going to go out and try our hardest. Obviously some people will be missed but we have to move on.”

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Last modified on Sunday, 07 August 2011 14:38

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