Nnamdi Asomugha, four time pro bowler, one of the league's best defensive players, one of the highest rated free agents to hit the market since Reggie White and newest Eagle arrived at Lehigh University today and met the media for the first time. Nnamdi can't practice with the team until August 4th, but it was still exciting to see him in Eagles green and walking around Lehigh. For Eagles fans in attendance, it had to be a "pinch me" moment... this guy is really here.
He began his first press conference by complimenting the Eagles organization and proclaiming that they have a "championship feel."
"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."
"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."
He also confirmed what we've been saying all offseason, that the presence of Michael Vick on this team has arguably been its most valuable recruiting tool.
"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."
He also said that Vick had been been recruitng him at the Pro Bowl and obviously he's friends with DeSean Jackson with their Cal connection. So DeSean certainly deserves an assist for his recruiting as well. Hopefully we get to watch those matchup in CB vs WR drills sooner rather than later.
Nnamdi says that he's had his eyes set on Philadelphia since March.
"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."
He was asked whether he maybe could have gotten more money 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."
Oh yes, he used the word apocryphal. It means essentially "hard to believe." Finally, he addressed the fact that he'll be wearing #24 rather than his usual #21. He says that he's just not that important to him.
"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."
How refreshing is that by the way? I've always found that whole thing where one player sends some other guy on vacation or remodels his kitchen or something is kinda silly. I mean, they've got money to burn so it's not a big deal, but you have to love a player that realizes that it's just not important.
We'll have more later on how he thinks he'll fit in with the other two pro bowl corners.