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Nnamdi Asomugha

Asomugha at the 2009 OWIN Fundraising event
No. 21     Oakland Raiders
Personal information
Date of birth: July 6, 1981 (1981-07-06) (age 28)
Place of birth: Lafayette, Louisiana
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
College: California
NFL Draft: 2003 / Round: 1 / Pick: 31
Debuted in 2003 for the Oakland Raiders
Career history
 As player:
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2008
Tackles     291
Sacks     2.0
Interceptions     11
Stats at

Nnamdi Asomugha (pronounced /ˈnɑːmdi ɑːsəˈmuː.ɑː/; born July 6, 1981, in Lafayette, Louisiana) is a Nigerian-American (ethnically Igbo) cornerback for the National Football League's Oakland Raiders professional football team. He was drafted in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft (31st overall) by the Raiders. He played college football at California.



Asomugha was raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended and played high school basketball and football at Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, California and Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, California before transferring to and graduating from Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California.

College career

Asomugha went to college at the University of California, Berkeley, where he finished his career with 187 tackles, three sacks, 19 stops for losses, eight interceptions, three touchdowns, 15 pass deflections, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in 41 games as a free safety. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Finance.

Professional career

Asomugha was the second Cal player to be drafted in the first round (31st overall) of the 2003 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders after Kyle Boller was taken by the Baltimore Ravens. He was moved to cornerback but played sparingly the first two seasons of his career. He became a starter in 2005 and set new highs in tackles with 60 tackles(55 solo) and passes broken up with 14.

In 2006, he recorded his first two career interceptions against the Cleveland Browns. He got his third interception four weeks later against the Pittsburgh Steelers and returned 24 yards for the first touchdown of his career. Though the team suffered through a 2-14 season, Asomugha's 2006 campaign was his finest yet as he finished the season with 50 tackles(48 solo), eight interceptions, a sack, a forced fumble and one touchdown. His interception total tied him for second highest total in the National Football League along with four other players (including former Oakland Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson).

After the season, Asomugha was invited to the Pro Bowl as an alternate but because of late notice he was not able to attend the annual all-star game [1]. He also received the Oakland Raiders "Commitment to Excellence" Award and was named the team's Most Valuable Player. In addition, Asomugha was selected to Dr. Z Sports Illustrated 2006 All-Pro team[2] as well as The Associated Press 2006 All-Pro Team.[3]

Asomugha was selected as the Raiders Team Captain for the 2007 season. The season was a lonely one for Asomugha, who paid for his eight-interception breakout season of 2006. Opposing quarterbacks tested him only 31 times with a mere 10 completions the entire season. One NFL scout told Pro Football Weekly that Asomugha was thrown at "less than any defender in the last ten years" in 2007 [4] He finished the 2007 season with 34 tackles(32 solo), 1 interception and 7 breakups and was named a 2008 Pro Bowl alternate.

A free agent in the 2008 offseason, the Raiders placed the 'exclusive' franchise tag on Asomugha on February 20, 2008.[5]

Asomugha covers Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Michael Jenkins at a Raiders home game on November 2, 2008.

Asomugha was again selected a team captain before the 2008 season. Opposing quarterbacks tested him only 27 times the entire season resulting in just 8 completions. Only perennial all-pros Randy Moss (3 receptions, 40 yards) and Tony Gonzalez (2 receptions, 34 yards) would catch more than one ball on him during the year. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Asomugha is "as complete a cornerback as he has seen all year".[6] He finished the 2008 season with 40 tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, and 9 pass deflections. He received the Oakland Raiders "Commitment to Excellence" Award for the second time and was named the team's 2008 Co-Most Valuable Player along with running back Justin Fargas. Asomugha was selected as a starter for the 2009 Pro Bowl. He was selected onto The Sporting News 2008 All-Pro Team [7] as well as the Pro Football Writers Association All-NFL Team for 2008 [8]. Asomugha was also selected onto Peter King's Sports Illustrated 2008 All-Pro team [9] as well as The Associated Press 2008 All-Pro Team.

On February 19, 2009 the Raiders re-signed Asomugha to a complex three-year deal that makes him the highest paid defensive back in NFL history. The first two years, worth $28.5 million, are fully guaranteed. In the third year of the contract, if Oakland wants to keep Asomugha, it must pay him the average of the top five highest-paid quarterbacks or $16.875 million, whichever is higher. If the Raiders fail to pick up the option, Asomugha will become a free agent with Oakland not having the ability to tag him again.[10].

A team captain again and the NFL's least targeted cornerback by an extremely wide margin, Asomugha was challenged by opposing quarterbacks only 27 times and allowed 13 completions the entire season. After his performance against the Houston Texans, head coach Gary Kubiak said "Asomugha is the best (corner) I've seen in a while throughout this league. He's big, he's fast, they put him out there on an island the whole game. He's an exceptional player." [11] Similar to the past three seasons, Asomugha finished the 2009 season with 34 tackles, 1 interception, and was second in the league with 8 tackles for loss from the cornerback position. Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said "The guy is truly unbelievable. He made himself the best corner in football by his work ethic, the way he studies tape, and he's so smart." [12] Following the 2009 season, Asomugha was selected as a starter for the 2010 Pro Bowl. Asomugha was selected onto The Sporting News 2009 All-Pro Team (2nd team) as well as The Associated Press 2009 All-Pro Team (2nd team). This would mark his third selection to both the Pro Bowl and All-Pro team in his seven-year career with the Oakland Raiders.

Asomugha has been selected as a member of the Fox Sports NFL All-Decade Team: 2000-2009.

Asomugha has also been selected to the USA Today NFL All-Decade Team: 2000s.


Off the field, education and community service are his mainstays. Asomugha serves as Chairman for the Orphans and Widows In Need (OWIN) Foundation. Through OWIN, Asomugha and his family provide food, shelter, medicine, vocational training, literacy efforts, and scholarships to widows and orphans victimized by poverty or abuse in Nigeria. Currently, OWIN has two centers in Nigeria and plans to expand to other countries in Africa[13].

In 2006, Asomugha launched the annual Asomugha College Tour for Scholars (ACTS) program. Each year, he teams up with selected students from Bay Area high schools on college tours across the country. To date, Asomugha has taken students to visit Morehouse College, Spelman College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Clark Atlanta University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Brown University and the Berklee College of Music. All of the tour participants who have graduated from high school have gone on to attend higher education institutions [14]. For the 2009 tour, Asomugha took students to visit schools in New York City including NYU, Columbia University, The Juilliard School, The Fashion Institute of Technology, Fordham University and The New School [15].

In 2010, ACTS will expand to not only service high school students in the Bay Area but also select high schools in the Los Angeles area. For the 2010 tour, ACTS will visit schools in Washington D.C.

Asomugha speaking about the importance of community service at the Clinton Global Initiative University 2009 meeting in Austin, Texas with former President Bill Clinton.

Asomugha joined former President Bill Clinton, Matthew McConaughey, and Marie Tillman at the 2009 Meeting of Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) hosted by The University of Texas at Austin to discuss the importance of global service and student activism. CGI U is President Clinton's youth initiative designed to challenge college students to take action on some of the most pressing global issues in areas such as education, poverty and global health. At CGI U, Asomugha spoke to over 1,200 student leaders, university presidents and leaders of national youth organizations about his philanthropic efforts in Nigeria and Oakland, CA [16].

Additionally, Asomugha distributes backpacks to the incoming freshmen each year at Narbonne High School in Los Angeles. He also outfits the football and basketball team with shoes, a mandate he wrote into an endorsement contract he signed with Nike.

For his commitment to community service, Asomugha was named a Home Depot Neighborhood MVP 2007 [17]

In 2008, Asomugha was presented with The President's Volunteer Service Award. An award that was established to recognize the important contributions Americans of all ages are making within their communities through service and civic engagement[18].

Essence Magazine selected Asomugha as one of the “Do Right Men of 2008”, highlighting his success and philanthropic endeavors [19]

Asomugha has been recognized by fellow members of the NFL Players Association who nominated him in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 for the Byron "Whizzer" White Award for Outstanding Community Service.

Asomugha was also nominated for the prestigious Sports Illustrated 2008 Sportsman of the Year award [20].

In 2009, Asomugha was named to the “Dream Team for Public Service” by the Jefferson Awards for Public Service. The Jefferson Awards were first established by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Robert Taft and Sam Beard in 1972. The goal of the ceremony was to create a “Nobel Prize for public service.”[21]


Asomugha made his first professional acting debut in 2008 on the The CW Network sitcom, The Game (U.S. TV series). In 2009, he played the role of Ken Shaw in the season premiere of Friday Night Lights (TV series) Season 4 [22].

When his football days are over, Asomugha says he is interested in a career in acting or broadcasting. Asomugha is a co-host of "Sports Sunday" on NBC Bay Area with Raj Mathai, and is also a regular on 98.1 KISS FM during the football season. In 2008, Asomugha was chosen from hundreds of applicants for the NFL Broadcast Bootcamp [23].

Asomugha is of Igbo descent, an ethnic group in southeastern Nigeria.

He is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. initiated at University of California, Berkeley Gamma Alpha chapter where he last held the position of Vice-Polemarch before joining the NFL.

Asomugha has a form of color-blindness called Deuteranomaly stating in the June 2009 issue of ESPN The Magazine that "It was determined when I was about 7 years old. It's never really affected my play on the field -- I can easily distinguish between light and dark colors. I only have trouble between similar colors -- the light ones. They look the same to me. No problems on the field" [24].


  1. ^ Asomugha Invites to 2007 Pro Bowl
  2. ^ Zimmerman Chooses Asomugha
  3. ^ Espen wire Associated Press Selects Asomugha
  4. ^ Pro Football Weekly
  5. ^ NFL Says Asomugha Is Exclusive
  6. ^ ProJo Football
  7. ^ Sporting News
  8. ^ Pro Football Weekly
  9. ^ King, Peter (2009-01-06). "'s 2008 All-Pro Team: Youth movement dominates annual list". Sports Illustrated. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ Orphans And Window In Need Foundation
  14. ^ Asomugha Take Students On College Tours
  15. ^
  16. ^ Clinton Global Initiative
  17. ^ Asomugha Is A Home Depot MVP
  18. ^
  19. ^ Asomugha Is Essence DO RIGHT MAN !
  20. ^ Sports Illustrated Sportman Of The Year
  21. ^“dream-team-for-public-service”/
  22. ^
  23. ^ ASomugha goes to NFL Bootcamp
  24. ^

Further reading

External links



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