|Asante Samuel returns to South Philly and expect a motiavated Falcons' defense to take the field inspired by the star cornerback who gets teams pumped on gameday. (US Presswire)|
Eagles cornerback Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie played in the same defensive backfield as Asante Samuel last season. And even though they weren't together for long, it was a memorable time for Rodgers-Cromartie, who took over Samuel's starting spot this season when Samuel was traded to Atlanta.
Samuel returns to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday when the Eagles (3-3) take on the Falcons (6-0) and no matter what kind of reception the fans give him, several of his former teammates will be happy to see the man who went to three Pro Bowls in his four seasons as an Eagle.
For Rodgers-Cromartie, the memories stretch back further than that.
"He's helped me all my life, though I'd never tell him that," Rodgers-Cromartie said of Samuel. "Everybody wanted to be like Deion [Sanders] growing up, but the older you got, you started looking at guys who were there now. And I looked at Asante Samuel, because he's a playmaker.
“I was the same way, jumping stuff, taking stuff to the house. I had that loud voice on the field -- the way he yaps, I used to yap. I used to sometimes think I was him.
“I would never tell him that,'' Rodgers-Cromartie added with a smile, “because we were in the same locker room and we were competing. But now that he's gone I can say it -- I looked up to him.”
He wasn't the only one. Samuel sometimes got on the coaches nerves with his constant chatter and Eagles fans weren't always happy with him because they felt Samuel wasn't physical enough, but it seems as if his former teammates loved him.
“Asante is an awesome person and great player and I learned a lot from him,'' Eagles safety Kurt Coleman said. “I think the one thing about him is you never know if he is having a bad day. He brought so much enthusiasm to every single practice and every single meeting. You enjoyed that, you really did. I know Atlanta is really feeding off that on the field. He made a lot of plays.”
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