We already knew Nnamdi Asomugha was one of the few men in all of sports that truly talks the talk and walks the walk. In an era when so many say one thing in front of a camera yet do something totally opposite when the lights are off, Asomugha is the real deal. Should Nnamdi depart the East Bay via free agency the Raiders stand to lose much more than a great player, they’d be minus a great human being as well.
Chronicle writer Rob Kroichick authored a wonderful background piece on Asomugha that is a must read. With his words, Kroichick paints a vivid portrait of the man former teammate Jay Richardson referred to as “the Barack Obama of defensive backs”.
Most telling of all is how his family views Nnamdi’s success in football. Known for being incredibly humble and soft spoken, Asomugha remains grounded largely because his highly educated and motivated family doesn’t consider his job real work.
“They say, ‘Oh, he just plays football – when that’s over, then start your real job.’ “
All Nnamdi did was earn a cool $16-million last year by taking some of the best athletes on the planet and making them virtually disappear. For his effort he earned a trip to Hawaii to represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl and was selected first team All-Pro for a second consecutive year. Yet still his mother awaits her son to start his real career when the fleeting occupation of football is concluded.
Unlike the overwhelming majority of his NFL counterparts, Asomugha is built for life after football. His education at UC Berkley won’t go to waste as he’s established several organizations to aid college bound teens and even widows in his family’s native Nigeria.
The more you learn about Nnamdi the more you realize how truly irreplaceable he is.
His charitable acts are even having an effect on the NFL at this very moment. Asomugha helped fund a summer track club run by a local coach he befriended at Cal. All that track club did was turn out Jahvid Best and current teammate Taiwan Jones.
Still, football is a business. Despite all he does both on and off the field, Asomugha’s price tag could be too high for Oakland. The irony, of course, is that it was Al Davis who first rewarded Nnamdi so handsomely for all he does for the franchise. Now Davis might have priced himself out of the Asomugha sweepstakes. But if anybody knows the true value of Asomugha, it’s Davis. So I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Davis worked more of his cap magic to keep Asomugha in Silver and Black.