If only Nnamdi Asomugha pursued opposing receivers for the Eagles with the same zest he signed his new 49ers deal with.
Nobody likes to see bad things happen to good people.
Asomugha came to Philadelphia in July of 2011 to join a team that had just bowed out of the playoffs to the eventual league champion Green Bay Packers in a tightly-fought game at Lincoln Financial Field, a game where the Eagles had the ball at the end of the game with a chance to win.
Asomugha's reputation at the time was as a lockdown defensive back who would effectively eliminate one half of the field for opposing receivers.
It did not quite work out that way.
The Eagles' 8-8 record in the 2011 season was mediocre, to be sure. However, when compared to the 4-12 record that the 2012 Eagles posted, getting Andy Reid fired as a result, the 2011 season was a huge success.
Asomugha cannot be blamed alone for the Eagles' rapid decline. But that is not the point. Asomugha's greatest sin was failing to do a single thing to make his teammates and defensive unit better.
Per Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Reid's last game as the Eagles' head coach included the benching of Asomugha in the fourth quarter as the death throes of the 42-7 rout by the New York Giants ran their course.
Perhaps the most surprising part about Asomugha's benching was not that it happened, but that it took such a long time to happen.
Asomugha's play in 2012 deteriorated to shocking levels, such that by the time the season was over the question was not whether Asomugha could deliver on the promise of his huge contract—but whether he should be playing at all.
Asomugha looked nothing like the player whose contract guaranteed him $25 million the day it was signed. He looked...ordinary.
Now he is gone, taking a $4 million contract buyout on his way out the door as rumors of his detachment from the team (eating lunch in his car?) and general disinterest trail him like body odor.
His punishment for essentially stealing money from the Philadelphia Eagles for two seasons? A chance to win a ring with a loaded 49ers team in 2013.
As noted in the ESPN piece, Asomugha himself seems to be reveling in the karmic aspect of this signing. Asomugha starred at the University of California as a collegian, then as a young professional with the Oakland Raiders.
So after coming east for two years to line his pockets with cash but no rings, Asomugha now sees the symmetry of returning to Northern California to seek gold with the Niners.
From the ESPN piece cited above, here are the words of Asomugha's representative, Ben Dogra:
"He believes in karma and timing," Dogra said. "He wants to show everybody it's not about the money for him. He wants to prove something. He could have walked away and retired. He wants to play for a winner. He's inspired. Hopefully, he can get a ring and stay happy."
Any of those traits (determination, inspiration, having it not be about the money) would have been great to see from Asomugha in Philadelphia.
Sadly, none of that was ever evident when Asomugha was an Eagle.
If seeing bad things happen to good people is bad, somehow, for Eagles fans this must feel worse.