Asomugha: 'I know the level I can play at'
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is, well, still a cornerback.
Asomugha played some safety during his college career at Cal, but he has played cornerback exclusively during his 10-year NFL career.
Even though the 49ers have an opening to fill at free safety with the departure of Dashon Goldson, Asomugha said Wednesday there was never any discussion about playing safety.
"No, we haven't talked about safety at all," Asomugha said. "I'm playing corner."
He added that the team never discussed a specific role when he visited with general manager Trent Baalke and coaches on March 14, two days after he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I just told them I wanted to come in and help this team as much as I can in whatever way that I can, Asomugha said. "But we didn't go into specifics about what that role would be. 'Would you go inside? Would you be outside?' We didn't talk about that stuff."
The 49ers' top five cornerbacks from a year are set to return in 2013, including starters Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown, as well as third cornerback Chris Culliver.
At 6 foot 2, Asomugha has rare height at the cornerback position that others on the roster lack.
"We are very pleased to add Nnamdi to our defense," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "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."
Asomugha, who officially signed a one-year contract with the 49ers on Wednesday, took part in a conference call with Bay Area reporters. Here is some of what he had to say:
--On how he ended up with the 49ers: "I was making a decision between the Niners and the Saints. And ultimately, the Niners just felt at the end of the day like the right place to be. I was really impressed with the way they run their organization, impressed with the winning, impressed with coaches and players. Everything felt like it was in line."
--On his return to the Bay Area: "It feels good. Definitely, feels good being back here, having started out here in college. It feels good. The familiarity is here. 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."
--On whether he feels like he has something prove at this stage in his career: "I don't think the stage of my career matters that much. I don't know that there's been a season where I didn't go in feeling like I had something to prove. I've had a chip on my shoulder every year that I've played. I think, obviously, it's bigger this year because of the adversity I went through in Philadelphia. But it's always been a part of my game is coming in and showing what I can do and now being able to be here and start fresh with that, it's a great opportunity for that."
--On why things did not work out for him in his two seasons with the Eagles: "I think there were a number of reasons that you can point to, but ultimately it didn't work out. I'm not the type of person who lists . . . that all starts to sound like excuses to me. The bottom line is it didn't work out. I tried my hardest for it to work out. I believed all the way up until 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 fall into line and work out, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. I think the more level-headed you can be during those difficult moments is how you bounce back, and I think I've been pretty level-headed about it. I don't like to sit and talk about reasons why it didn't work out. It doesn't feel right to me."
--Coming into a situation where there's going to be a daily competition with the 49ers: "I just want to compete on this team. I just want the best brought out in me on this team. I just want to have fun. That's the attitude I come in with. I want to win games. So I'm going to do whatever I can to make those things happen, regardless of what I'm coming into and this, that and the other. My mindset is to come in and compete and be the best that I can possibly be."
--On the doubts that he can still play at a high level at his age: "Yeah, I know it. Like I said, I know what things went wrong and didn't work in my favor. I know how those things are fixed. And I know the level I can play at. So that's where I stand with that. I don't think it's age thing. I think it's based off of not playing well during a difficult two years and being removed from that situation and that environment and just having a rejuvenated opportunity."