Friday, July 25, 2008

Man Crush: Nmamdi Asomugha


adjective. 1. Of doubtful authenticity :SPURIOUS.
2. Often capitalized: of or resembling the Apocrypha.

I start this post with the dictionary definition of "apocryphal" because Nmamdi Asomugha used it correctly during his interview session yesterday after the opening practice of training camp:

I had heard all the apocryphal stories during the offseason of what was going on so I wanted to put everything to rest and just show up. . . It went both ways. I had a lot of people saying don’t show up and I had enough people saying show it up so it helped me out. I sought out the counsel that was needed in this situation and I was able to come and be here.

Please, Al. Pay this guy next year. Not only is he the anti-Charles Woodson in terms of team leadership-by-example, but the English Major in me can't resist a guy who uses SAT words like "apocryphal" correctly to describe the speculation about his contract negotiations.

And look, I know we're not supposed to feel bad for this guy, because he's making $9.87 Million or whatever it is this year. But that's not the point. This is:

I really want to win games. That’s a big part of why I’m here. It’s putting that on the line, that you could get hurt, and those types of things. But it’s in the name of being a cohesive unit and coming together and trying to win football games.

That is exactly the kind of leadership you want from your star players. He admits he was taken aback by the money the Raiders threw around this summer, but instead of doing sit-ups in his driveway, or staying home during training to "send a message"--a message absolutely no one would blame him for trying to send--he shows up in fantastic shape and intercepts the one pass that was thrown to his side of the field.

The actions of players like Asomugha seem to contradict all of the negative press swarming the Raiders this offseason. If the Hotel California was so goddamned disfunctional, why would an obvious "character guy" such as Asomugha be in such a hurry to get back and join his teammates, when he has every incentive not to?

It almost makes these stories seem apocryphal.

UPDATE: Per Dan's comment, here's Nancy Gay's article on Asomugha. She has some very nice things to say about Lane Kiffin as well.

1 comment:

Dan Hauenstein said...

I was reading - of all people's - Nancy Gay's tribute to Asomugha and it was just paining me that we don't have him locked up long term. And with a vocabulary like that... This is the guy we should be building the defense around for the long haul.