Asomugha: 'The adjustment hasn't been hard; the locker room is great'
Nnamdi Asomugha has lined up with the first-team defense in Tarell Brown's absence during the 49ers' offseason program. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Two years ago, the circumstances were a lot different for Nnamdi Asomugha as he transitioned to a new team.
Shortly after the lockout of 2011 lifted, Asomugha signed a big-money contract with the Philadelphia Eagles after eight seasons with the Raiders. He immediately reported to training camp on the East Coast to begin his crash course in a new defensive system.
Asomugha lasted just two disappointing seasons in Philadelphia. This time, his contract and his familiarity with his new surroundings are completely different.
"Making an adjustment with a full offseason and coming back to a place where I played before, in an area I know, the adjustment hasn't been hard," Asomugha said.
Asomugha appears to be embracing the change after signing a one-year, $1.35 million contract. In Philadelphia, it was widely reported he often ate his lunch alone in the parking lot. In his short time with the 49ers, he has eagerly provided assistance to his young teammates on either side of the ball.
"The locker room is great," Asomugha said. "It's really a good group of guys. And they told me that before I got here that was the case, but you never know what you're going to walk into. And these have been some great teammates, some hard-working guys. So it's been really good."
Returning starter Tarell Brown does not take part in the voluntary workouts, choosing instead to follow his own speed-based workout regimen in Texas. Asomugha has lined up with the first-team defense during the 49ers' offseason program.
Asomugha was best-known during his time with the Raiders for his prowess at being physical at the line of scrimmage and disrupting the timing between the opposing quarterback and wide receiver.
That side of Asomugha has not been on display during the offseason program, as league rules limit the amount of contact that can take place in practices before the start of training camp. While implementing what Asomugha calls a good mix of man and zone coverages in the 49ers' defensive scheme, he has not had a chance to demonstrate what he does best.
"It's pretty much illegal to do it, so we've stayed away from it," Asomugha said of press coverage. "Guys are working on other techniques. You can say they're offensive drills because we can't be as aggressive, but the league is kind of that way in the sense that you can't be as aggressive."
However, Asomugha is aggressively pursuing a role in the 49ers' defense -- a defense that returns its top five cornerbacks from last season. Because he received no guaranteed money in his contract, it is clear he will have to earn his way onto the field in competition with the 49ers' other defensive backs.
"Right now, I'm just competing," he said. "I want to come out and do my best and help the team out as much as I can."