Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Willing to pay the price to be great

When Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was drafted in the first round back in 2003, many critics thought it was a mistake.

According to Asomugha, "I remember players talking to [Raiders DB coach] Willie Brown in my presence. Receivers asking, 'Is this who you drafted? I can't believe this is who you drafted.'"

Instead of folding, "Asomugha channeled his anger, frustration and disappointment into a workout regimen that honed his skills and strengthened his resolve."

Today, Asomugha rates as one of the league's top defensive backs. Says Broncos coach Mike Shanahan: "This guy is off the charts. He's as good as it gets."

Willie Brown, Asomugha's position coach who is among the greatest defensive backs to ever play pro football, credits Asomugha's work ethic for his development over the last five seasons.

"He is dedicated, and he's dedicated to be great. I tell all the defensive backs, they should have Nnamdi's work habits. He will do anything you ask, and he is willing to pay the price to be great."