Former Knight Sets Sights on Super Bowl
Asante Samuel (Jim Mone/AP)
Asante Samuel (Jim Mone/AP)
Editor-in-Chief
Posted Jan 16, 2009
Charlie Bernstein


Asante Samuel is no stranger to big games. He’s played in three Super Bowls, and won two of them, and has been in the playoffs every year of his six year career. In his first season after signing a massive six-year, $57 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, Samuel has his team one game away from another trip to the big game.

“It’s playoff time and we had to take it to another level,” Asante Samuel said.

Taking it to another level is exactly what the former UCF corner has been doing, as he’s had an interception in each of the two Eagles playoff victories, returning one for a game-changing touchdown against Minnesota, and returning another to the two-yard line last week to set up Philadelphia’s first touchdown as they extinguished the defending Super Bowl Champs from a year ago.

“That’s what it’s all about, stepping up and making plays when the opportunity presents itself,” Samuel said. “We got to the playoffs by the thin of our hair and we’re here and we have to do what we do.”

The interception against Eli Manning was extra special for Samuel, as he made amends for an interception that he dropped near the sideline in last season’s Super Bowl which would’ve secured a victory for his Patriots.

“I had an opportunity to make a play, and I finally caught one of his balls,” Samuel said about the interception. “I dropped about three or four of them, and I finally caught one. I took it back to the two or three-yard line and the offense capitalized. Making plays is what it’s all about.”

Samuel spoke about the Giants physical play prior to the game, but avoided any thoughts of redemption.

“The most important part to keeping us intimidating is being physical overall,” Samuel said. If they know one of us is coming, they’re going to brace themselves for a hard hit.”

If the Eagles are going to make another trip to the Super Bowl, it will likely have to come from a huge contribution from Asante Samuel, as he will probably draw the tough assignment of covering Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, who may be the best wide receiver on the planet. Fitzgerald has caught 14 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns in the Cardinals two playoff victories over Atlanta and Carolina.

“He’s a very talented player, but they have a big, talented group of guys,” Samuel said when asked about Fitzgerald and the Cardinals receivers. “It’s a team sport. We can’t just be worried about one guy.”

Giving up five inches and 35 pounds, Samuel will certainly have his work cut out for him on Sunday.

“I’m just going out there to play ball,” the former Knight said about his matchup with Fitzgerald. “Whether it’s him or anybody else, I’m just going to play ball.”

Asante and his Eagles are currently decided favorites to continue their road winning streak and represent the NFC in Tampa at the Super Bowl. If they do indeed complete the journey, the former UCF Knight will have played a key part in it and has cemented himself as one of the finest corners in the NFL.



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