By John McMullen
Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - The Philadelphia Eagles made a big splash in the NFL's free agent market Friday, signing former New England Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel to a six-year contract.
"Obviously, I think the cornerback position is very important," Eagles head coach Andy Reid said. "When you have an opportunity to get the best one in the business, then you need to look at that. I welcome him aboard, and I know [defensive coordinator] Jim Johnson has great plans for Asante. I could easily see him doing what we do on defense when he was on the Patriots."
The 27-year-old Samuel has spent his entire five-year career in New England, where he has recorded 22 interceptions in 75 regular season games and five more interceptions in 14 career postseason contests.
"Today is an exciting day for my family and me," Samuel said. "I want to thank the whole Eagles staff for getting this done. I'm happy to be an Eagle, and I'm ready to get it rolling."
Since entering the league in 2003 as a fourth round draft choice from Central Florida, Samuel's interception total ranks sixth in the NFL behind Ed Reed (29), Champ Bailey (26), Darren Sharper (26), Dre Bly (24), and Ty Law (23). In that same time span, Samuel's six interception returns for a touchdown (including playoffs) are the most by any player in the NFL.
He is looking to take that big-play mentality to Philadelphia.
"What I know the most is that it's an aggressive defense and they like to get after the quarterback," Samuel said. "[Last year], our offense played against them first hand, when we played them in the regular season. They gave us some trouble on offense. They were pressuring and getting after the quarterback and playing an aggressive style of defense. I think I fit right in."
"We're obviously trying to strengthen the defense," Reid added. "[General Manager] Tom [Heckert] had targeted Asante and that allowed us to review all the film and we decided that if he does stay available, and we get to this date then we are going to go after him"
The two-time Super Bowl champion and 2007 Pro Bowl selection then talked about bringing that kind of success to the Birds.
"I'm going to bring a winning attitude, coming from my first five seasons in the NFL that have always been winning situations," Sameul said. "I’m going to come here and be a role model, work hard, give it my all, and give them what they deserve."