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Asante unplugged: Samuel bristles at criticism, treatment from Belichick

Intriguing piece on Iggles cornerback Asante Samuel from beat reporter Geoff Mosher of the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal, as Samuel rails at critics who accuse him of being too one-dimensional, only content with intercepting passes while not tackling hard. The cornerback also takes a jab at Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who helped mold Samuel into a Pro Bowl corner but also got under his skin during their time together in New England.

Samuel had nine interceptions for the Iggles last year, the most by a cornerback since Antonio Cromartie, now with the Jets, had 10 in 2007 for the Chargers.

"Anybody else out there that's getting nine interceptions [who is] in the limelight, they will go crazy over," said Samuel. "Cromartie gets 10 interceptions one year, he's one of the best cornerbacks in the league all of a sudden. I do it day in and day out, but they always try to find something to say — he jumps routes, he gambles, he does this."

Samuel also bristles at the suggestion that he excelled mostly as a result of Belichick's system in New England, reminding fans that the Eagles have made the playoffs in each of his two seasons in Philadelphia. Among others, NFL Network analyst and former Steelers All Pro cornerback Rod Woodson questioned whether the Eagles signing Samuel was a mistake.

"So I go create up here and he [Woodson] has got to come back and apologize because he's all into the hype of what everybody was saying, instead of just [saying], 'This guy's out here, making plays, doing what nobody else is doing,'" Samuel said. "Why can't I just be respected for that?"

Mosher writes that Samuel believes the slights stem from three forces: his refusal to play media politics, his inauspicious football pedigree and the sour relationship with Belichick that forced him out of New England.

Mosher writes: Start with the first: Samuel engages the media, on average, once every two weeks. He refers to these short, hollow, bone throws to the media as "10 percent days" designed to get reporters off his back.

"The only thing I need you guys [the media] for is to help me get into the Hall of Fame," he said. "That's what they tell me."

He accused the Patriots' head coach of planning to bench him without cause for a Nov. 26, 2006, game against Chicago. Only after injuries threatened the secondary during the week, Samuel said, did Belichick decide to dress him.

Samuel picked off three passes against the Bears and finished that season with 10, including two in the postseason, both of which he returned for touchdowns.

"I ain't never said it, but Belichick, I just felt like he had a thing for me," Samuel said. "He had something against me. I have no idea why. He was going to start Troy Brown, a receiver, at nickel [corner] and I'm over here sitting healthy and he don't want to even play me."

The Patriots cited the 2006 injury report from that week, which indicated that Samuel missed portions of practice twice because of a knee injury. He'd been inactive the week before against Green Bay.

Samuel won two Super Bowls while with the Patriots, but looks back with bitterness at his time there.

"Ty Law in New England, he's making all these picks. Oh, he's a great corner, this and that," Samuel said. "But I all of a sudden I go and do it [and it's], 'Oh, he's in a Cover 2 defense, that's why he isn't as good and this and that.' But when Ty Law does it, it's all gravy."

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