Unanimously respected Cal alum, and now ex Oakland Raider Nnamdi Asomugha, will become a shutdown corner in the land of the cheesesteak. Though I loathe the idea of losing Nnam, I am happy for him, and soooooo glad Asomugha did not become merely the latest made for tv sound bite… on either “Hard Knocks- Broadways Latest”, or as a shiny new piece undeneath the massive 100-foot monstrosity in “Jerry Does Dallas – Hangin’ with Hard Knocks & the Cowboys.”
That Nnamdi brings his immense man cover skills (though exclusively at right cornerback I believe, not a “follow best WR to either side” cover corner… a minor but relevant note at 10+ million ducats per) to Philly sucks ass no doubt, but that it wasn’t the Jets or Cowboys helps. Asomugha to Eagles fans is a final signature piece to Andy reid’s carefully orchestrated dance between dog killer Michael Vick and the fickle Philadelphia sports community. Akin to washing down a gooey “wit wiz” Jim’s Steak on South street with a pure Yuengling, Nnamdi represents a sort of “Anti Vick” to Eagles fans not quite sold on backing Reid’s delicate dance with the devil. Raiders fans still mad at the Philadelphia Eagles… watch the Louis Murphy Kills Philadelphia Eagles video clip for consolation.
Asomugha’s character is beyond reproach. That Nnamdi chose Philadelphia in his title quest, also helps understand his motivations, and soothes the sting of watching Jerry or Rex talk about their new toy. Nnamdi wants to win a Superbowl and he thinks his best chances are with Andy Reid and Mike Vick. Yes it stings Raiders fans, and converting an “Asomugha #21″ jersey to “Branch #21″ ‘aint easy. The idea of of our articulate first round “reach” by Al Davis in 2003 posing on the Cowboy star, or talking smack with Rex Ryan, nauseating…
Why Nnamdi to the Jets would have been sad: why become yet another mercenary of Big Apple sports, brought to the city where the comment “embarassment of riches” meets nothing but a selfish smirk. Indeed, New York’s bounty is already wayyyy overfull. Asomugha’s impact would be lost amongst Jeter, Arod and a Rex Ryan press conference. Asomugha, and his gift for philanthropy, did make a difference here in the community of Oakland, as a big fish in a resurging pond. In the Big Apple, Nnamdi would have simply become the latest athlete/actor in the toxic Hudson.
Asomugha All Helmet, No Cattle?
Why Nnamdi Asomugha to the Dallas Cowboys would have been sad: The cool and classy Asomugha paired with the gynormous megawatt marketing machine of Jerry Jones (an Al Davis friend BTW) didn’t feel right. Better to serve Paul Giamatti a nice Merlot with his Ribeye, than pair Jerry Jones and Nnamdi Asomugha. Many would argue that Al Davis has already led Nnamdi to the “Dark Side” of pigskin and money, right where the Jerry Jones football machine lurks, but it would be untrue. Nnamdi stayed classy even through the infamous Bed & Breakfast offense era. No, Asomugha to Dallas would have been very wrong indeed. Almost as if I want to say Nnamdi was better than that, or bigger than the spectacle of that particular self-induced NFL circus.
Asomugha a California Kid
Few would have dared held a grudge against the universally liked Asomugha, had he walked to either ill-suited NFL super-hype locale. Native Californians though, certainly regret the loss of yet another inspirational “hometown” boy makes good story, even to the city of Brotherly love..
Nnamdi Asomugha was born in Lafayette, Louisiana but was raised in Los Angeles, California. Asomugha 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 went to California Berkeley (Cal), where he finished his career with 187 tackles, three sacks, 19 stops for losses, eight interceptions, three touchdowns, 15 pass deflections, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in 41 games as a free safety. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Finance.
Nnamdi Asomugha, the Oakland Raider
Everybody from the average Oakland Raiders dockworker fan to the United Way of the bay Area, where Asomugha recently became an UWBA ambassador, wanted Nnamdi to remain an Oakland Raider. So much more importantly though, they wish for the bright and articulate Asomugha to remain an agent for good in this community.
Asomugha was all that and a bag O’ chips here in Oakland, and was destined to become the face of a new stadium and a new era of Raiders football under the fiery Hue Jackson. Indeed Nnamdi could have remained an icon of good with the magical Cali team that drafted him, but we are again soothed that Asomugha did not seek fame & fortune amongst the mass epicenters of the NFL.
Oakland Raiders fans loved Asomugha for remaining humble while ascending to stardom, and bringing class and character to our renegade team. Nnamdi also posessed incredible football smarts, and the overall “Oakland Raiders football intelligence” quotient will drop noticeably with his departure. Now, with the 2011 Oakland Raiders set to build upon the battering of the AFC West, Nnamdi finally had what we thought were the complimentary pieces in place to win here with us. Richard Seymour, Lamarr Houston, Hue Jackson, and a wicked tandem of running backs in Darren Mcfadden and Michael Bush. Raider Nation now hopes that Al Davis logic dictating that we could get “2 or 3 players” for Nnamdi type money pays off.
Losing Nnamdi Asomugha simply sucks Raiders fans, lets hope Stanford Routt and the kiddies (the Raiders have 8 cornerbacks in camp) can pick up the slack on the field. There will be no replacing Nnamdi Asomugha outside of the hashmarks and in the community, he was that special.
Though Raiders fans regret the choice Asomugha has made, he had earned the right to make it. Here’s to you Nnamdi Asomugha, a great player and greater person. Thank you for what you started in Oakland, the Raiders and this city were made better by your inspiration.