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May 31, 2013
Brotherly love: Asomugha seems at ease with 49ers

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The lasting image from Nnamdi Asomugha's two years in Philly is of the multi-million-dollar cornerback eating lunch alone in his car while teammates dined at the the team facility. Asomugha's stint there was difficult, and he never seemed to fit in - neither in the Eagles defense nor apparently in the locker room.

This week Asomugha described a more comfortable situation with the 49ers. For one, the cornerback said, there's time to ease into the situation. "The adjustment really hasn't been that hard," he said. "The last time I had to make the adjustment in like a day because it was a lockout year. So making an adjustment with a full offseason and playing in a place I've played in before and an area that I know, the adjustment hasn't been hard."

The expectations for Asomugha also aren't nearly as onerous. He went to Philadelphia in 2011 with a reputation as the top cornerback in the league and a contract to match, one that called for him to make $60 million over five seasons. Asomugha proved to be a poor fit in the Eagles' defense, his salary became unwieldy and he was released earlier this year.

The contrast with his salary this year is stark. The 49ers signed him to a one-year, $1.35 million contract with no guaranteed money. Asomugha is competing for a spot on the team. With Tarell Brown working out in Texas this offseason, he has been running with the 49ers' first-team defense during OTA sessions.

Unlike in Philadelphia, it appears that Asomugha is just one of the guys, albeit a veteran presence. He took part in - and was the subject of - a very funny spelling bee competition inside the team locker room in which he banters with receiver A.J. Jenkins and quarterback Colin Kaepernick. It can be seen here. And he said the group of young receivers vying for a spot on the team continually ask him for pointers.

"All the time and every one of them. And probably every day," he said. "They come up and they're asking questions from what happened in practice - 'What were you seeing on this, why'd you do that, what did I give away?' That type of stuff."

And there have been no reports of Asomugha eating by himself.

"The locker room's great," he said. "It's really a good group of guys. And they told me that before I got here that that was the case, but you never know what you're going to walk into. And these have been great teammates, some hard-working guys. So it's been really good."

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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