If you’ve spent even 10 minutes talking with Nnamdi Asomugha, it’s no surprise his one week stint as a pinch-hitter for Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” column on CNN-SI was a success.
No athlete is more thoughtful and introspective, with the bonus being Asomugha has good sense of humor and a better sense of people.
A few observations:
— Take Asomugha’s tips on how rookies can make a smooth transition to the NFL and apply them wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and it’s a much better explanation as to why DHB is making strides in Year 2 than the ponderous release issued by the Raiders Sunday.
“When I was a rookie in 2003, I was not only making the transition from college to the NFL, but also being asked to make the move from safety to cornerback. It took time for me to get comfortable, and realistically, it wasn’t until my third season that I began to feel at home,” Asomugha writes.
“Players often get a bad rap during their first or second year if they struggle with this transition, especially if they are high draft picks. I think it’s important to look at a young player’s work ethic, his football intelligence, and his desire to become great. Even if a player gets off to a slow start, it is those traits that will allow him to eventually become successful in his career.
— The explanation of Asomugha’s “Quote of My Career” was better than the quote itself.
“It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”
Indelible words from my then-defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to me, as I was walking onto the field for the first practice of my second year in the NFL. He told me this just after another coach told me, “I would have never drafted you.” It was right on time.
Wonder if that motivational ploy ever got back to Al Davis, the guy who drafted Asomugha (considering some teams didn’t have Nnamdi going within the first three rounds, it was one of the best picks he ever made) and how long it took the coach to hear about it from the boss.
— Asomugha, having played in the Bay Area, has a handle on the differences between the Raiders and 49ers and their respective fan bases.
“I think that Raiders fans and the 49ers fans would not be happy campers if they had to share a stadium together. There has been some talk lately about the possibility of the Raiders and 49ers following the examples of the Giants and Jets and sharing a stadium. Aside from the reasons why this merger may make financial sense, let’s discuss the fans. When it comes to fan bases, these two are polar opposites. Even if they never see each other, the concept that someone else will be sitting in their seats during away games may not sit too well with them. This will be interesting.”