So, as you'll surely remember, just before the draft in April, the Philadelphia Eagles traded cornerback Asante Samuel to the Atlanta Falcons for a seventh-round draft pick. They did not do this because they didn't like Samuel, or because they didn't think he'd play well this year. They did it because they determined that they needed his salary off their books and because they believed they'd be fine with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie as their starting cornerbacks. They didn't think at all of what a pain in the neck those two names are to type next to each other all the time. They just went ahead and made the deal, without any of concern for those of us who write blog entries about them.
Anyway, Samuel was much more offended by the whole thing than anyone else was. And as the Falcons prepare to play the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday, he's pretty fired up. Per the Philadelphia Inquirer:
"They better cheer for me," Samuel said to reporters in Atlanta. "They're going to cheer for me or we're going to have a problem right there in Lincoln Financial [Field]. All you all fans, all I did for you all, you all better cheer for me. Deuce here. Got nothing but love for you all."
Samuel returns with the undefeated Falcons. It was pointed out to the cornerback during a four-minute interview the struggles the 3-3 Eagles have had on defense this season.
"It’s kind of hard when 22 ain't there," Samuel said, referring to his jersey number. "Twenty-two keep things going for you. You just to deal with it. You make you bed. You got to deal with it."
I guess no one pointed out that the Eagles are actually one game better at this point in the season than they were after six games last year with Samuel on the team. It doesn't appear as though his absence ranks among their most troublesome issues.
But as we discuss here all the time, players do what they need to do to get fired up. And any player who's ever been traded, whether he's talked about it or not, gets excited to play his old team for the first time and try to show them they made a mistake. You'd better believe Samuel will be jumping a route here and there and trying to take a Michael Vick interception back for a touchdown Sunday. And if he does, you'd better believe he'll have plenty to say about it after the game.