Nnamdi Asomugha spurned the Jets in July, opting to take his talents to Philadelphia and become a part of the "Dream Team."
But the All-Pro cornerback said today that he nearly signed with Rex Ryan & Co.
"Oh really close. Really close," Asomugha said this afternoon. "I really liked the staff there in New York and I have been really close with Rob Ryan, so I know Rex being his twin and being very similar to him … During those 48 hours or whatever it was that we were able to talk, they were saying some really great things.
"I liked how the defense had played, they are doing a lot of the things that I had done throughout my career. So there wouldn't be any adjusting or anything like that. So I was really close and the Eagels came in that 11th hour or whatever it was. And all along, I had always admired the Eagles and they were always the team that, if they were involved, that was where I wanted to be.
"And at the end there, they came in and so I went back to how I was thinking in the beginning and I said Philly has been the place since Day One, so that’s where I should be."
Asomugha, who inked a five-year, $60-million deal, said there wasn't one overwhelming factor that led him to choose the City of Brotherly Love over the Big Apple. The recruitment from QB Michael Vick and wideout DeSean Jackson at the Pro Bowl in January didn't hurt, though.
Asomugha attributes his slow transition to schematics.
"It’s completely different from what I was doing in Oakland," he said. "Obviously in Oakland, when I was there, it was about just about finding a guy and matching up with him and playing one-on-one pretty much the whole game. And it’s just completely different here with the one-on-ones and putting in some new things.
"But [defensive coordinator [Juan Castillo] was also just moving me around the field, and he’s wanted me to be sometimes at corner, he wanted me to be at nickel, a rover, sometimes free safety. There’s some challenges in that because you have to learn the scheme, and the coverages for every single position you are asked to play.
"I think that’s where the biggest challenge has come in, just knowing how you fit in based on each call and then he has some different techniques that he has guys playing. When I first got here, it was completely different from the things that I was doing in Oakland. You kind of had to learn it during games, whether it’s preseason or regular season. It’s not like we had any time during a minicamp or an OTA.
"So basically my learning of this thing was learning it in game. That can be tough. But when you go through that type of fire, I think you learn a little bit faster."
Even though the Eagles are 5-8 and Asomugha has had his share of struggles, he's convinced he made the right decision.
"I don’t regret it at all," he said. "The thing that has been very dificult has been not winning, and I think the tough part about that is the expectations were really high coming into it. And even if my expectations were realistic, the expectations that were out there, I think I let that get to me as well.
"The expectations of 'everything will be and must be perfect with this team now that they’ve comprised these players, blah, blah, blah.' I always have a realistic approach to it. But I kind of let that seep through and that made the losing of it all a little bit tougher, a little bit more difficult to deal with. But no, I have not and I will not regret it.
"Our story still isn’t over yet. There’s always something to learn and we’re still fighting."