Nnmadi Asomugha has been at the very center of free agency discussions and reporting since the earliest days of the lockout leading all the way up to his relatively surprising decision to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles. Even after agreeing to terms with the Eagles late last week, Asomugha has still managed to stay in the spotlight for much of this week, and he’ll continue to do so through the weekend thanks to his appearance on the cover of this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated. Now it’s time for the prized cornerback to prove that all the hype was warranted. He can’t begin doing that though until the new CBA is ratified, a development that was expected to be finalized by Thursday. Now it appears as if Asomugha might have to hold his horses a bit longer, but really, it’s just a matter of hours (days at most) before Asomugha is in camp with the Eagles.
Once he is, expect the scrutiny and media attention to remain intense while he and the rest of the Eagles’ secondary and coaching staff goes about formulating a plan for how best to utilize their bevy of talent at corner. Asomugha joined WIP in Philly with Glen Macnow and Anthony Garganoto talk about when he first learned that the Eagles were interested in him, why he was so impressed and attracted to the Eagles dating back to the spring, how important it was for him to join a Super Bowl contending team at this stage in his career, how everyone was possibly able to keep such a closed lid on the negotiations between him and the Eagles in a day and age where leaks are commonplace not rare, how he thinks the trio of himself, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Asante Samuel will be able to coexist, why his versatility and experience playing all over the secondary will allow him to adapt to any number of situations the coaches put in him, how many different pronunciations of his last name he’s heard recently, his itch to join training camp in earnest once the new CBA is ratified, and being the cover story on this week’s edition of Sports Illustrated.
On when the Eagles first expressed legitimate interest in him:
“The interest came in March when I found out there was a chance that I’m not going back to Oakland, maybe they won’t re-sign me or whatever. So I said I wanted to put a list together just in case, and the Eagles were at the top of the list. When we started the three-day frenzy, the Eagles, we didn’t hear anything…or I didn’t hear anything. Maybe my agents at CIA were speaking to them, but I wasn’t hearing anything. So it was really less than 24 hours of it that we really came into play.”
What was it about Philadelphia that was so attractive to him in the first place:
“Oh it was a number of things. My brother and friends and my agents, we just did a whole bunch of things on a checklist and just tried to see which team would best fit, and the Eagles came out on top every time. It’s a wealth of talent here, the coaching staff is great, the organization is great, so I knew it was a great fit.”
On how important it was for him to join a Super Bowl contender like the Eagles:
“That’s huge. It’s huge. That’s the reason we play the game; it’s one of the main reasons. That was a big deal. Knowing that the Eagles in the last 10 or 11 years have been in the playoffs, and have always been close. So I think it would be great to have that quest being to win that Super Bowl for the first time in your organization’s history.”
On how the Eagles’ interest was able to be kept so quiet throughout the summer and early stages of free agency:
“Yeah it was just smartly done, it was just well planned on everyone’s part. Not on my part, I didn’t have anything to do with it, but the guys that were working it, they just wanted to keep it quiet and not tip anyone off so that just in case things didn’t work out it wouldn’t have been a big issue.”
How he thinks the trio of himself, Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers Cromartie will be able to coexist:
“I mean, what it does for us is it gives us flexibility, allows us to move around, and allows us to put our top talents on the field at the same time. So I definitely think it’s going to work in our favor. And as far as I’m concerned, I can play anywhere. Wherever they want me to play, I can play and do a good job for the squad. So I just let him know that because I didn’t want to let this become a ‘let’s really try to figure this out’ type of issue. I’m here, I’m flexible, I’ve played it all before, I can do it all again. I’ve played all over the field in Oakland, so I’ve done it.”
How many different pronunciations has he heard for his last name:
“I mean I hear them all the time. You know, I go with a few of them. I mean, there’s some that kind of catch you off guard, like Aguzman or something like that. You’re like ‘who?’ But you know, I go with a few of them.”
On what his initial impression of the Eagles defensive coaches is before getting ready to join practice in earnest on Thursday:
“You know, I don’t know if it will be [Thursday]. We’re hoping it will be, but we don’t know yet.”
How frustrating it’s been to not be able to join training camp in full despite feeling healthy and ready to go:
“Yeah, because you feel like my legs will be fine, my wind will be fine. But you don’t know, we haven’t done anything; we’ve just been watching so. So trying to learn and see it and get everything full speed, it will be good to finally get out there and do that. But the defensive coaches have been great at giving us all the information we need to be prepared, and everybody is loud and fiery and just excited out there. So it’s a good mix.”
Has he seen this week’s edition of Sports Illustrated that he graces the cover of?
“I have seen it, they’ve been passing it around a little bit. You know, we did the shoot the day really quick right after practice. But you know, it’s great that people have the attention on the team, but obviously with me I just want to get out there and play. There’s so much attention going on, I just want to play football at this point. But it’s great. I’m happy about it.”