Former Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha chose to announce his retirement as a Raider from Oakland Raiders headquarters in Alameda, Calif. on Friday.
Flanked by fellow former Raiders-great cornerbacks Willie Brown, Lester Hayes and now safety Charles Woodson, Asomugha discussed his decision to retire as well as the impact the men on his side had on his career. He also discussed what late Raiders owner Al Davis meant to him and what it meant to play wearing the Silver & Black.
The former Cal safety told a story of what it was like to drive back up to the Raiders headquarters, just as he did right after he had been drafted from nearby Berkeley. But this time he is starting a different journey in his life.
“It’s the same scenario,” Asomugha said. “I parked my car and walked into the building. And another journey started for me.
Asomugha, now 32 years old, was drafted 31st overall in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Silver & Black and moved to cornerback by Al Davis after playing safety at the University of California.
Asomugha stated during the press conference that he always intended playing safety in the NFL, but it was a conversation with Davis that made him change his mind. He stated that he knew Davis had reached for him but stated that “In Al Davis fashion, he reached with confidence” and soon convinced him to play corner.
Asomugha listened to Davis’ advice and went on to play 11 seasons in the NFL, tallying 11 interceptions and earning three Pro Bowl invitations while with the Raiders.
With his contract expiring after the 2010 season, Asomugha was largely considered the top free agent available before signing a five-year, $60-million ($25 million guaranteed) contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.
After primarily playing in the Raiders’ man-to-man defense, Asomugha’s play declined while playing in more zone with the Eagles and last just two years in Philadelphia before being released.
Asomugha was on the 49er’s earlier this season but lost out to Raheem Brock before being released in early November. Asomugha’s career ends with 15 interceptions and 80 passes defensed in 143 career games.
As the saying goes, “Once a Raider, always a Raider”