Less than three years after being the most sought after cornerback in free agency, Nnamdi Asomugha’ NFL career is finished. Once regarded as one of the premiere shutdown corners in the league, his career had taken a dive in the last few years.
Asomugha was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2003 out of University of California Berkley. He played free safety in college but was switched to cornerback by the Raiders. He would prove to be a welcome addition on their struggling team.
He recorded 60 tackles his first season, 50 tackles the next season and 34 tackles his third season as teams started to throw away from his side of the ball. He would be made team captain in the 2008 season where he was tested only 27 times all season resulting in just eight completions and be named to the 2009 pro-bowl.
Asomugha was rewarded in the off-season with a new three year contract that made him the highest paid defensive back in the NFL. He did not disappoint. Following the 2009 season he would make the 2010 pro bowl. The 2010 season would be his best as he would not give up a touchdown all season and be named to the 2011 pro bowl.
Asomugha would enter the 2011 off-season as the most highly regarded free agent available. The Philadelphia Eagles would scoop him up for a five year $60 million deal. Rather than keep him at cornerback as the Raiders had done, the Eagles asked Asomugha to play all five secondary positions. It would prove to be a disaster for both the team and for Asomugha. He would finish the 2011 season with just 35 tackles and three interceptions. During his two years the team would finish just 12-20 and miss the playoffs both years.
After the second disappointing season, Eagles wanted to restructure Asomugha’s contract but could not reach a deal with him so he was released. He would be signed to a one year deal with the San Francisco 49ers in April of 2013 but was released on November 4.
On December 26 Asomugha signed a one day deal with the Oakland Raiders so he could retire with the team who gave him his start in the league.
Outside of his time with the Raiders, Asomugha was a major disappointment in Philadelphia and San Francisco. He was never able to recreate the same success he had in Oakland leaving many to wonder if part of this success came from playing in such a weak division. No one can say for sure what led to such a drastic fall off in success and production but the 32 year old has chosen to walk away from the game. Part of his decision to leave now may have to do with his recent marriage to actress Kerry Washington and the announcement of her pregnancy with their first child. Whatever the case his early years in the league will be remembered positively even if the latter ones are not.