We got our first Asante Samuel press conference of the Eagles season today. It appears that a $57 million contract gets you a regular appointment with the blathermonkeys, along with grizzled press conference veterans like Dunavin, Dawk and Westbrook.
Given that I'm planning to watch most of these things ("It's just a TV show"), I was pretty psyched to check out the new character. Quick hits:
So I definitely enjoyed it. Looks like a nice counterpoint to some of the other guys who do the pressers: a little younger, a little cockier, a little less cynical than the others. Didn't sound like a dummy, but also didn't sound like someone who was reading the local papers yet. So he's still a little naive about the dynamic in there, but I would assume his recent liquidity event has lent him a certain confidence.
While he didn't sound like a total Eagles robot yet, he does have some media training. He did a nice job of not saying "talking shit" in reference to the predilections of the Philadelphia supporters. That is, he politely substituted "talking mess" and then "talking crap" in response to a question of fan behavior. Asante, we appreciate your manners.
Went for the easy joke and it worked. He made a crack about Belichick not having a personality and it drew a round of guffaws from the assembled press. I would have laughed if I was there as well. Who doesn't like laughing at the guy who got caught cheating, ran up the score in meaningless mid-season games, and then choked in the Super Bowl? That guy is a total jerkface!
He parried the first volley from the locals well. Someone cheekily asked Samuel about his absence from training camp last year (meaning his "WELL-DOCUMENTED HOLDOUT"), "Was that a hamstring last year? You said you missed all of training camp, was that also a hamstring?" "No," replied Samuel, "it was a contract situation." Followed by a big smirk. Solid.
Did okay with the second volley. They tried to goad him a bit by asking him about the recent article in SI that intimated that other guys on the Pats had blamed Samuel for the Tyree catch. While his answer convinced me that he definitely "could give a mess what those guys think," he got momentarily riled, insisting that the game wasn't about a single play. But he chilled out quickly and moved on and said all sorts of nice things about the catch.
Other items of note. Samuel has apparently played every defense you can play from high school to college to the pros, so we shouldn't worry about him picking up the defense. Sweet! That should be fine then.
Looking forward to seeing more of Samuel up there. Go Birds.