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49ers sign cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha for 1 year
Eds: Updates with Asomugha quotes, details.
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
SAN FRANCISCO — Nnamdi Asomugha is not about to begin rattling off all the reasons and ways things went wrong for him in Philadelphia. He figures that would do him little good at this stage.
Back where he starred collegiately at California and began his NFL career with the Oakland Raiders, Asomugha is ready to win with the San Francisco 49ers.
The NFC champion Niners made it official with the free agent cornerback Wednesday, signing him to a one-year contract that could pay as much as $3 million.
“Ultimately, the Niners felt at the end of the day like the right place to be,” Asomugha said. “I was really impressed with the way they run their organization, impressed with the winning, impressed with the players. Everything felt like it was in line.”
As usual, Asomugha insists he will start his new job with the same motivation to prove himself. And even a little more so now after his disappointing departure from the Eagles.
The former All-Pro was released by the Eagles on March 12 after two disappointing seasons — and now he is eager to help the 49ers return to the Super Bowl and win after losing 34-31 to the Ravens on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.
Now, he gets another start in the Bay Area region he still considers home.
Asomugha and the reigning NFC champions reached agreement on the deal Tuesday. The contract has no guaranteed money. Asomugha is due to earn a base package of $1.35 million with salary and bonuses, and could make an additional $1.65 million in incentives for playing time, awards such as the Pro Bowl and reaching the playoffs.
He had 55 tackles and an interception last season, and finished his two-year stint with the Eagles with 95 tackles and four interceptions.
“We are very pleased to add Nnamdi to our defense,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. “Throughout his career, Nnamdi has accomplished a great deal on the field and in the community. We look forward to his contributions to our team and the Bay Area.”
The 31-year-old Asomugha spent his first eight seasons with the Oakland Raiders from 2003-2010. They selected him 31st overall in the first round of the 2003 draft out of nearby California in Berkeley. He made three Pro Bowls during his time with Oakland.
“It definitely feels good being back here. I started out here in college, so it feels good, the familiarity is here,” he said. “I don’t have to acclimate to a new culture and new surroundings. The focus can be on football, so that’s a beautiful thing. I don’t know a season I’ve ever gone in that I didn’t feel I had something to prove. I’ve had a chip on my shoulder every year that I’ve played. I think it’s different this year because of the adversity I went through in Philadelphia. It’s always been a part of my game — coming in and showing what I can do. Now, being able to be here, start fresh with them, it’s a great opportunity for that.”
He isn’t sure what his role will be, but plans to compete for a job in a deep secondary and show he can still be a dominant defender.
Asomugha will join a San Francisco secondary featuring returning starters in safety Donte Whitner and cornerback Carlos Rogers, and new safety Craig Dahl. Dahl signed a three-year contract on March 16 as San Francisco found an apparent replacement after Dashon Goldson received a five-year deal from Tampa Bay at the start of the NFL’s free agency period.
“I just want to have fun,” Asomugha said. “That’s the attitude I’m coming in with. I want to win games, and I’m going to do whatever I can to make those things happen, regardless of what I’m coming into.”
Before his release in Philadelphia on the first day of free agency last month, Asomugha had been due to make $15 million this season, including $4 million guaranteed, after signing a $60 million, five-year deal with the Eagles in 2011.
“I think there were a number of reasons that you could point to, but ultimately it didn’t work out,” he said. “The bottom line was it didn’t work out. I tried my hardest for it to work out and I believed all the way up to the end that it was going to work out. I wanted it to work out so badly. I wanted to win in Philadelphia. I wanted to be great in Philadelphia. I wanted everything to work out. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, and I think the more level-headed during those difficult moments helps you bounce back. I think I’ve been pretty level-headed with it.”
Notes: The 49ers announced Wednesday that season tickets are sold out for the 2013 “Farewell to Candlestick” but a limited number of single-game tickets will go on sale April 27 through Ticketmaster.com. The team encourages fans to begin thinking about the first season in the new Santa Clara stadium in 2014 — with 75 percent of tickets already sold for the venue.