PRIDE, COMMITMENT, AND LOYALTY.Words that are all used in connection with the OAKLAND RAIDERS, whether it be the owner, the marketing department, or by the Raidernation.
These qualities have been hard to come by in recent years, there have been flashes of one or the other, but rarely do all three show up at once.
Last Wednesday all three did, at the Napa Valley Marriott in the shape of one Nnamdi Asomugha.
Aso, of course had been franchise tagged by the RAIDERS, and after the deadline for any long term contract signing had passed, it was understandable to fear the worst in terms of a disgruntled #21 making a point to his employers by prolonging his off-season, and not reporting for the start of training camp, or for pre-season for that matter.
Instead, Namdi arrived in Napa, put pen to paper and hit the field.The sight of arguably the RAIDERS best player in camp, ready to play, and declaring that winning games is more important than money, has surprised teammates, press and fans alike.
We have all seen what effect the franchise tag can have on a player, the difference between the present situation and that of Charles Woodson is obvious.Asomugha is hardly going to be feeling the pinch of the credit crunch this year, as he stands to make $9.765 million for this season, and if franchised again next year that will rise to $11.7.But the lack of pouting and posturing in the media, which is the usual way of making a point to the front office, is commendable and a breath of fresh air to me as a fan especially.Nnamdi's way is to show up, play hard and be an example to his teammates, an example that winning is what's important.
At the conclusion of the 2008 season, the RAIDERS should do the right thing by Asomugha, they need to reward him with a lucrative long term deal, after all there are players this off season that have been rewarded for less.If Mr Davis still believes in the mantra of Commitment To Excellence, and wants to see words like Pride and Loyalty associated with the RAIDERS, then a player that epitomises them all needs to be cherished and needs to remain in Silver And Black for a long long time.
I just wish I'd bought that Asomugha jersey last year...