Next up in our Nuggets series is the always entertaining cornerback Asante Samuel. With training camp just days away, fans able to attend practices at Lehigh will certainly be entertained by the vocal Samuel, who is never shy about supporting his defensive comrades and letting the offensive players know it. Samuel, the nine-year veteran is still one of the premier playmaking corners in the league and will be expected to once again lead the turnover charge for the defense in 2010.
1. Samuel's nine interceptions last season tied for the league lead and were the biggest contribution to the Eagles' second-place ranking in turnover margin. Since joining the league as a fourth-round draft choice of the New England Patriots in 2003, Samuel has 35 interceptions, trailing only Ed Reed's 41 and Darren Sharper's 36. But since 2006, Samuel has picked off more passes than any other player with 29.
2. Samuel doesn't just make an impact during the regular season though, as some of his best games have come in the playoffs. In his playoff career, he's returned four different interceptions for a touchdown - something no other player in NFL history can match. And among active defensive backs, no one has played in more postseason games than Samuel's 18. Pretty impressive for a guy whose only scholarship offers coming out of high school were from Central Florida, where he ended up, and Hofstra.
3. Samuel was a versatile athlete in high school, starring on both the baseball and basketball teams in addition to his exploits on the football field - where he also played quarterback until his senior year. But he wasn't always one of the best athletes around, in fact, as a youngster he was teased about how slow he was until he convinced his mom, Christine, to buy him running parachutes and strength shoes to increase his speed. "My mom would be out with me at 10 o'clock at night timing me in the 40 in the dark. I was always conscious about working on my speed, my technique, my footwork and my breaks."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 3:10 p.m., July 23