Asomugha reports to Lehigh, excited to join Eagles

Asomugha reports to Lehigh, excited to join Eagles
July 31, 2011, 6:43 pm
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BETHLEHEM, Pa. - He won 37 games in eight years with the Raiders. The Eagles won 85 during the same span.

He never reached the postseason while he was with the Raiders. The Eagles have made the playoffs nine of the last 11 years.

Hes always spent Sundays in January with the TV off. No football for him. No playoffs.

While his friends were off playing postseason football and trying to win a Super Bowl, he was trying to forget that he was an Oakland Raider.

It was depressing because theres one reason, one main reason, why youre playing, Nnamdi Asomugha said. You want to win. So when the playoffs would come around, I wouldnt watch. Maybe Id see some highlights here and there. But it was depressing as a player.

Asomugha, who on Friday signed a five-year, 60 million deal with the Eagles that includes 25 million in guaranteed components, joined the team Sunday morning at Lehigh University. Like Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins and the Eagles other free agents, hes not allowed to practice until Thursday, but he can participate in meetings, film study and all other team activities.

The Raiders averaged 4.6 wins per year during Asomughas eight seasons in Oakland. In his three years at Cal, the Golden Bears went 11-23. His only winning season -- counting high school, college and the NFL -- was 2002, when Cal went 7-5. Even that team went 4-5 after a 3-0 start.

Its frustrating not to win, Asomugha said. The No. 1 goal when you come into this league is to win a championship. You want to win the Super Bowl. Thats the only reason you play. When youre not winning and not making it to the playoffs, that can be frustrating.

Thats why when free agency finally began, Asomugha began looking for a place to win more than a place that would offer the most money.

We heard the same thing from Jason Babin last week. He left money on the table to come here.

Players are signing with Philly because they feel the organization is committed to winning and -- with Michael Vick at quarterback -- has a legitimate chance to win a Super Bowl.

Ive seen what the Eagles have done in the past, Asomugha said. The winning tradition that they have, and it excites me. Theyre winners.

Asomugha said the Eagles were his first choice all along during the summer. He said Vick began recruiting him at the Pro Bowl in February and said DeSean Jackson texted him constantly urging him to sign with the Eagles.

But the Eagles didnt even get involved in talks until the last minute. Everybody thought the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback was headed for the Jets or Cowboys.

Then, just before he had to make a decision, the Eagles swooped in.

The Eagles never really seemed to be in it, even for me, he said. You guys were surprised. Anybody that knows me knows that I like to take my time in making decisions, and Im on the phone and its like, Yes, No, What do you want to do, make a decision, Give me five minutes, We dont have five minutes, youve got to make a decision.

That decision shook the NFL to its foundation.

The Eagles? Really?

Everything came really quickly, Asomugha said. And when the Eagles expressed interest and came so aggressive and said, We have a chance, we want this, lets do it, it didnt have to go much further.

Everybody that was on my team knew my No. 1 team was the Eagles from March, when we were looking at teams. When the Eagles became a possibility we knew that was the match.

When a team wants you, you can feel it. and when you feel that match I dont think you can shy away from that.

Asomugha said a lot of the rumors that were reported before he signed were untrue.

He said he heard the reports that he would want something like 20 million a year but said none of that was ever true.

More than anything, he wants to win.

Regardless of money, regardless of location, regardless of the supposed things that I want to do after football, regardless of all that, we had to make a clear decision in what was best for us.

You heard the apocryphal stories about the things I was expecting as far as the numbers and things like that, so it was out there, but the thing I wanted most of all was to be in the right situation.

And that is Philadelphia, where hes now the centerpiece of an unusual three-pronged cornerback attack with Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Combined Pro Bowls: Eight.

Can three superstar cornerbacks play in the same secondary? Theres still a chance the Eagles will trade Samuel, but if not, can it work?

Oh, its very workable, he said. I mean, its the best situation, because you have obviously teams are passing a lot more and there are rules that are ... I dont want to say catered to the offense because I dont want to get fined or anything, but there are rules that allow the offense to be more explosive, so you want to have as many defensive players and defensive playmakers and defensive backs that you can.

If thats the case, its very workable and it could mean some very impressive things on our end.

E-mail Reuben Frank at Follow him on Twitter @RoobCSN.

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