Nnamdi: ‘This Is the Place I Want To Be’

Nnamdi Asomugha had a candid session with reporters Friday, discussing the disappointing start to his time in Philadelphia and the possibility that it could be cut short.

Though things have gone different than anticipated, the much-hyped cornerback says he is not planning his exit strategy out of Philadelphia.

“I definitely feel that I have assimilated into it and acclimated into it and all of that stuff,” said Asomugha. “I have gotten the question throughout this year a couple times: did I make the right decision [coming here], should I have gone [somewhere else]? And that doesn’t cross my mind at all. It’s always, yes, this is the place I want to be.

“I absolutely believe in the decision I have made and believe in this team.”

When the Eagles signed Asomugha to a five-year, $60 million deal prior to the 2011 campaign, he was heralded as one of the top cover men in the game. He has fallen well short of that billing. It has not gone the way anybody envisioned, including Asomugha himself.

“Not even close. Not even close,” Asomugha admitted. “When I came I didn’t know anybody but everybody was on the same page that we were going to get it done the first year out of there. Then we saw that we had to jell. Then we started to jell. It looked like  at the beginning of the season things were on a roll, then we started losing and the momentum went the other way for us. So it just hasn’t gone well.

“I’m mentally strong because I haven’t had the success in the league that I’ve wanted since I was a rookie, but mentally I’ve been able to deal with that and know or believe that at sometime it will turn around.”

Asked specifically why he hasn’t been able to play at the high level everyone expected, Asomugha declined to answer in fear that it would sound like an excuse. There has been a decent amount of excuse-making over the past two seasons from this club, and Asomugha has been part of that. Whether intended or not, some of his postgame explanations as to why things went wrong often came across as finger-pointing, sometimes in the direction of former defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.

But on Friday Asomugha took some ownership, and said he understands why some of the fan base is  upset with him.

“As a fan I can look back to teams that I like and a player that I’ve liked  comes in and expecting it to just change, and it not working out and being upset about that,” he said. “I can’t now be that guy and look at them and say, ‘You can’t be upset that we haven’t won and I haven’t been Superman on the field’ even though that’s what has been expected of me.”

Opposing quarterbacks have a sterling 110.4 quarterback rating when throwing in Asomugha’s direction this season, per Pro Football Focus. The 31-year-old has just one interception on the season. He is due a base salary of $15 million next season, only $4 million of which is guaranteed. Asomugha says that he has not allowed himself to play the what-if game in terms of his future, but said, “I want to be around for this turnaround that I know is going to happen.”

He will have to be amenable to a sizable pay cut in all likelihood if that is to occur.

“Obviously it hasn’t been as good as I wanted it to be,” said Asomugha. “As far as team and individually, my expectations were so high. And then things just kind of hit really quickly, and it was like, team wise and player-wise it was kind of like playing catch-up trying to get it back on the right foot. That part of it has been difficult, but I keep that faith and believe that the thing will turn.”

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