Posted By: Christian Marin
As the NFL Lockout came to an end and teams were allowed to welcome players back to their training facilities for the offseason workouts; the entire football world has been drawn in by the moves that are being made throughout the league, with teams like the Philadelphia Eagles rapidly bringing in free agents before other teams have time to get a full team workout in.
The Eagles have been one of the busiest teams, if not the busiest, in the entire league so far during the offseason. They started with any possible cuts that were needed to be made in order to have the money that was necessary for any free agents, as well as a spot for them on the team’s roster. Sports Illustrated listed the NFL’s top 50 free agents for this offseason and the Eagles landed some key guys from the top of the list. They brought back one-time Eagle and former Titans defensive end Jason Babin who ranked in at number six, signed former Packers defensive end Cullen Jenkins who ranked in at number three and snagged former Raiders cornerback and four-time Pro Bowler Nnamdi Asomugha, who was a top of the rankings in the number one slot.
Drafted 31st overall in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders, Asomugha has been one of the top rated players throughout a majority of his career in the NFL. Seen through the eyes of some as one of the most talented defensive players in the game, he was looked at by many teams throughout the offseason and even throughout last season. Even Asomugha himself knew that his time was coming to an end in Oakland since the team wouldn’t be able to afford his new contract once it expired at season’s end.
Since the 2007 season, Asomugha has been named to the Pro Bowl every single season and looks to keep the streak going this year in Philadelphia. As one of the leaders on a young Raiders team and the captain of the defensive team, Nnamdi has grown into the role of a leader thanks to his time spent with Oakland and the role he played there. Teams from every division around the league wanted a piece of the highly talented and constantly talked about cornerback, but only one team could land the grand prize. Signed to a 5-year, $60 million contract on July 29, 2011, the Eagles were suddenly put in the spotlight with high expectations for next season. A team with an already impressive defensive core, Asomugha is just going to make them better on that side of the field. He is famous for the lack of completions he allows in his area of the field and the determination he has to make himself a better player year after year.
With Asomugha’s contract on everyone’s mind in the football world and the thought of what’s going to happen with the Eagles once the season starts, everyone forgets about the type of person Asomugha is and always has been when it comes to giving back to those in need. The Pro Bowl cornerback is an All-Star at heart and he has been showing it since his first full season as a starter in 2005. For Nnamdi, it all began back in 2005 when he was serving orphans and widows in Nigeria. Once he started working with the people of Nigeria, he realized that one of the most important things that were unavailable to them was education. By 2007, Asomugha started to focus on youth and what it would take to get them to that higher level of education so they could one day make something out of their lives and give back to others who are in need.
By 2010, Nnamdi Asomugha officially started up The Asomugha Foundation; a non-profit organization with the desire to have a positive impact on the disadvantaged youth in the United States and the underprivileged orphans and widows in Africa through education and empowerment. They believe that education is essential for success and living a long life. Education is linked to health status and economic security making it a springboard for innovation and growth across the entire world. Through the Foundation, Asomugha does his best to help give back to those with less and gives them the opportunity to obtain a quality education and use it to help transform themselves, their families and the entire community.
The two different programs associated with the Foundation are the Asomugha College Tour for Scholars (ACTS) and Orphans and Widows in Need (OWIN). Both programs focus on making at-risk communities better places to live in and give opportunities to children to help change their lives around for the long run. ACTS is an annual college tour and mentoring program for high-achieving high school students of colour which gives them the opportunity to visit college campuses across the United States. ACTS has provided 36 students with the opportunity to tour colleges and universities throughout Atlanta, Boston, New York and Washington, DC. Through OWIN, the Foundation provides aid to a growing population of widows and orphans who live in Africa. They work to position widows and orphans for economic success and independence through education, spiritual guidance and vocational training.
His humanitarianism has never gone unnoticed as he has been given many awards for his many generous acts he has put forth throughout the years. He has won many awards for his community service such as the 2007 Home Depot Neighbourhood MVP; the President’s Volunteer Service Award; and was selected by Essence Magazine as one of the Do Right Men of 2008. He has been recognized by fellow NFL players as he is constantly being nominated for the Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year Award for his community service; which he finally won in 2009 and is the highest honour amongst the NFLPA. He was named to the Dream Team for Public Service in 2009 by the Jefferson Awards for Public Service and became the ambassador for United Way of the Bay Area in which he is dedicated to ensure that all Bay Area residents have access to the building blocks of life such as education, income and health.
This past season he was named one of the three finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award; honouring players for their volunteer and charity work as well as their excellence on the field, but was beat out by Minnesota Vikings safety Madieu Williams. His era with the Oakland Raiders has come to an end but the era of giving back for Nnamdi Asomugha has just begun. He has never stopped giving back over the years and has never lacked with helping out any charitable efforts. Both on and off the field, his game will remain the same even though he has landed in a new environment. He has a chance to help raise awareness for his Foundation and the cause now that he is in a new city, playing for a new team. He is going to be a key part of both the Eagles and the city of Philadelphia as he is going to bring his physical defensive play with him, as well as his larger than life heart. He may not be so open to letting somebody into his end zone, but he is always welcoming to those in need of help.
To learn more about The Asomugha Foundation, visit http://www.asomughafoundation.org/index.php