BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Nnamdi Asomugha didn't think he was headed to Philadelphia until the last minute, either.
"The Eagles never seemed to be in it," the star cornerback said Sunday of his experience as a free agent. "Everything came really quickly, and when the Eagles expressed interest and came so aggressive and said, 'We have a chance; we want this. Let's do it,' it didn't have to go much further.
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"When a team wants you, you can feel it. And when you feel that match, I don't think you can shy away from that."
So Philly surprised the NFL by announcing Friday that he had signed a five-year contract. Asomugha reported to Eagles training camp at Lehigh University late Saturday night and was on the field watching his new team practice for the first time Sunday morning.
A three-time Pro Bowl pick during his eight years with the Raiders, Asomugha signed a deal worth $60 million over five years.
He said he spurned more money elsewhere because he believed the Eagles gave him the best chance to win a Super Bowl. Asomugha has never played in a postseason game and has never been on a winning team. The Eagles have reached the playoffs six times since Asomugha entered the NFL in 2003 and have had just one losing record since 2000.
"From top to bottom, the organization is first class with the head coach, the president, the GM, the owner, all the way down to the players," Asomugha said. "It has a championship feel to it."
Asomugha joins a crowded secondary with the Eagles. Asante Samuel has been to four Pro Bowls and has 49 career interceptions, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who the Eagles got from Arizona in the Kevin Kolb trade, had 13 interceptions in three seasons and was a Pro Bowl pick in 2009.
The chance remains the Eagles could trade Samuel, who is due to earn $5.9 million this year. But if they don't, Asomugha believes having three Pro Bowl cornerbacks in the same secondary makes sense in a pass-happy age.
When a team wants you, you can feel it. And when you feel that match, I don't think you can shy away from that.” -- Nnamdi Asomugha
"It's the best situation," he said. "Obviously, teams are passing a lot more, and there are rules that ... allow the offense to be more explosive, so you want to have as many defensive players and defensive playmakers and defensive backs that you can. If that's the case, it's very workable, and it could mean some very impressive things on our end."
Asomugha, 30, is one of five major acquisitions the Eagles made in the opening days of free agency.
"It's exciting," Asomugha said. "Any time you can get this many players ... it's exciting. But obviously we still have to go out there and play. Everything looks great right now, but we still have to jell. We still have to come together and work and bring back those victories."
Also Sunday, the Eagles said they had signed undrafted rookie linebacker Terence Thomas, a four-year starter at Villanova. Thomas had 327 tackles, 17½ sacks and six forced fumbles in his career and was an All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team selection as a senior.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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