I don’t have a webcam in every locker room like Ed Werder and I don’t have phone taps on every GM like Peter King. All I’ve got on this one is a gambler’s hunch and a fan’s hope. Call me crazy, but I think Asomugha will be a Raider until he retires.
Let me first say that there is not a better corner in the business. I saw Neon Deion play. I’ve seen Rod Woodson. Champ Bailey was the icon of his position for a hot minute, but right here and now, Nnamdi is the best there is and before it is all said and done we’ll be making a case for him being the best ever. So maybe I’m a little jaded and don’t want to lose the next Raider Hall of Famer, but guys like him don’t leave the job when there is still work to be done.
He has been the only reason to take pride in what has been the worst stretch in franchise history, which to me speaks volumes of not only his talent, but also his character.
Consider the fact that teams won’t even risk tossing the rock in his direction any more. It’s as if every offensive coordinator in the league tells his QB to find where Asomugha is and then imagine Rosie O’Donnell is doing jumping jacks nude on that side of the field. Would you look to that side of the field? I’ve seen him turn the likes of Steve Smith, Andre Johnson and Torry Holt into nothing more than sprinters who run as hard as they can when the ball is snapped and then just trot back to the huddle hoping to one day see a football again. He’s that good.
What’s even rarer than his talent and dedication is his attitude. He is an anomaly in the modern era: a shutdown corner with a humble demeanor and a hunger to get better. The only way I can make you see this would be if you closed your eyes and imagined what T.O. would look like with Peyton Manning’s brain and Ray Lewis’ heart. He’s not a guy who dances down the sideline like Deion or who runs his mouth like DeAngelo Hall. He’s that guy that just lets his game speak, frustrating you with a wry smile and making you doubt your skill with his seemingly effortless grace.
The only evidence I can offer for my theory are his body of work and an innocent quote he made in an interview.
We know he is a hard worker who didn’t just roll out of the womb as a shutdown corner. He’s an athletic freak the likes of which are drawn in vibrant colors and found between the pages of Marvel Comics, this is true. But Nnamdi has worked each year to improve and ensure he gets as few balls thrown his way as possible.
We know he has a desire to be the best. I can’t think of too many guys in the league who would be bringing it every Sunday for a team whose season is over four weeks in every year. He’s a competitor and wants to be a part of something special.
Just before the playoffs started, I saw Nnamdi in an interview with ESPN. They brought him in to ask for his professional opinion about the playoff teams. Nnamdi had the great displeasure of being on a team that lost to 5 playoff teams this year, making him an expert in a Matt Millen sort of way.
After giving his opinion on the playoffs and who would win, the inevitable questions about his future with the Raiders came up. Nnamdi admitted he was tired of the losing and would like a new start, then, with that same smile that drives pro bowl receivers into T.O. like fits, he said, “that doesn’t mean a new start can’t happen here in Oakland”.
Yeah, I sound like the insecure girlfriend clutching to any word that can be misconstrue as the hope of salvaging a dying relationship, but I don’t think he is giving anybody lip service and he knows what it would mean to his legacy to be a part of the Raider rebirth.
In this business you have to take your paydays when you can, so Asomugha should squeeze every nickel out of that man purse that Al Davis keeps his checkbook in, I have no problem with that at all just so long as he’s wearing Silver and Black and doing his part to keep the Ocho Cincos of the world out of the end zone. So Al Davis will franchise tag him…again…and he’ll make the pro bowl…again. That means it is up to you, Tom Cable, to make him an offer he can’t refuse; the offer to play for a Super Bowl contender.