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Joba to Prince: Welcome to NY!

Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain walks off the

Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain walks off the mound after getting the final out in the top of the eighth inning against the Orioles. (April 14, 2011) Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

Yesterday I wrote about how Prince Amukamara had arrived in New York without really knowing anyone. Turns out he does have a friend in the area: Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain.

The two got to know each other at Nebraska, where Amukamara was a star cornerback and Chamberlain spent time in the weight room and playing catch during the offseason. They’ve been in contact several times in the last few days.

“Great athlete, but more importantly, he’s a great person,” Chamberlain told our Yankees beat writer (and former Jets beat writer who still has NFL blood in his veins) Erik Boland. “Good kid, great family. I’ve hade the pleasure to get to know him just from being back in Nebraska and going to things and being around him.”

Amukamara, who many believed would be a top-10 pick, fell to the Giants at 19. He said he had “Brady Quinn visions” while he slid down the first round.

“It’s one of those things where he’s expected to go in a certain place but he didn’t go there,” Chamberlain said. “Speaking from experience I kind of know how that feels. But also he has a lot to prove now, especially with a team that has good corners already. To go in to know that even with the team that they had they wanted to bring in another quality back and he is going to do that. He’s a smart kid and he’s willing to learn and he’s really looking forward to being here.”

Chamberlain told Boland that he and Amukamara spoke on Thursday night, when he was drafted, and again on Friday.

“Funny, kid, he asked me if I needed a roommate, I told him he’s always welcome, so anything I can do to help,” Chamberlain said. “I know how tough it can be, especially coming from Nebraska and being there for the amount of time he had and then being here and wanting to be able to get started and do the right things to make him successful. Anything I can do, I’m willing to help in any capacity I can. I’m excited for him. It’s exciting to have a guy from Nebraska to be able to come up here and experience the tradition of the Giants and all that comes with New York.”

Has Chamberlain given him any advice about playing in New York?

“There’ll come a time where I’ll sit down and let him know what to expect, just to be prepared what’s going to come on,” he said. “It’s a different place than any other place to play. Obviously I don’t play football but as a fan of football you see the coverage that they get as well and you have to … any advice you can get in a new situation is always beneficial. I’ve kind of been through it all in 4 ½ years. So I feel like I can give some constructive criticism and advice to better his career and get him off to a great start.”
 

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