Nnamdi Asomugha played two forgettable seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles, but his career off the field has been remarkable.
Called the “Barack Obama of defensive backs,” the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback once held court with President Obama at the White House and married famous actress Kerry Washington. Asomugha had four interceptions in 42 games while wearing midnight green. The team eventually released him at the end of the 2012 season after he refused to take a pay cut from the $60 million deal he inked in 2011.
Now the 39-year-old has embarked on a Hollywood acting career and his first feature film, Sylvie’s Love, will be released on Christmas Day. The Amazon original movie stars Asomugha opposite Tessa Thompson (love interest in “Creed”) in a bittersweet jazz romance. He told NPR radio that he learned to play the saxophone for the movie.
“I wasn’t familiar, but I trained for the saxophone for over a year for this part,” Asomugha said. “Just to get it down and get down the music. I would love to keep playing, but once we finished shooting, I sort of put it down. My entire family was sort of tired of me playing at all hours.”
He has been garnering increasing praise for his acting chops, including critical acclaim for his portrayal of Carl King in “Crown Heights.” Asomugha retired from football in 2013 as a member of the Oakland Raiders. He finished an 11-year NFL career with 15 total interceptions and 79 pass breakups, plus two sacks and 408 combined tackles.
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Remembering the Doomed Dream Team
Remember the doomed “Dream Team” saga? Eagles GM Howie Roseman gets the blame but Vince Young was the one who uttered those infamous words in the summer of 2011. Philadelphia was spending money and signing high-profile free agents at will, including Asomugha, Young, Jason Babin, Ronnie Brown, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cullen Jenkins.
With Michael Vick coming off his breakout Comeback Player of the Year award, the sky was the limit and the Super Bowl was in their sights. The Eagles finished 8-8 that year, second in the NFC East. Then, it all came crashing down. Hard.
“It was the most disappointing team I have been on,” Jenkins said, via Bleacher Report. “We had such high expectations. It was a team that was used to winning, going to the playoffs year after year. To underachieve to the level we did was pretty bad.”
Asomugha Helped Get Juan Castillo Fired
Perhaps the highlight (or lowlight) of Asoumugha’s tenure in Philly was the way some inadvertent comments got Juan Castillo fired. The Eagles cornerback seemed to be grasping at straws to explain failures in the secondary, especially blown coverages late in games, and he took shots at Castillo. The former offensive line coach turned defensive coordinator was fired the next day.
Asomugha has admitted over the years that he never lived up to the hefty contract he signed. Just look at the stats for proof. However, he never carried a reputation as a bad locker room guy and it hurt him being blamed for Castillo’s firing. He also was more than willing to accept his role in the overall deficiencies on defense during his two years in Philly.
“If a fan has issue with that they’re not going to get me saying that that’s wrong,’ Asomugha said, via Bob Grotz of the Delco Times. “As a fan I can look back to teams that I’ve liked and when a player that I’ve liked comes in and expecting it to just change and it’s not working out and being upset about that.”