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Atogwe, a consummate pro ...

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  • Atogwe, a consummate pro ...

    Here is an exceprt from an article concerning O.J. Seems like a real professional, just the type of pillar we need here ...

    Many NFL players shun the franchise tag like an infectious disease, but Rams free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe said he’s glad to have that designation placed on him.

    “I think everything is a good thing,’’ Atogwe said. “It’s a blessing to come out here and play. And to be thought of as one of the top five at my position is an honor. I relish this.’’

    As the Rams’ franchise player, Atogwe is set to earn $6.342 million this season.

    Atogwe has yet to sign the franchise tender, but that didn’t keep him from attending the Rams’ involuntary minicamp this week.

    It’s extremely rare for franchise players who have yet to sign the tender to attend any offseason team activities.

    “I don’t have to be (here) contractually, but I feel like I’m obligated to be here for my teammates and for my coaches,’’ Atogwe said. “Going forward in this year, if I want to be a part of this team I want to be a part of this team from the beginning to the end and I think it’s important that we all put aside our own personal stuff and just really sacrifice for the team. Put the team first and allow us to come together as one unit so we can get a lot done this year.”

    Atogwe said he felt like it was important for him to be on hand for the Rams’ first minicamp under new coach Steve Spagnuolo.

    “It’s our first minicamp so it’s kind of the grace period where you kind of learn how they’re coaching and they learn how we work,’’ Atogwe said. “From a first impression standpoint, I think it’s going to be a great marriage. It’s going to be a great community that we’re building here. I think the coaches are really pulling for us and really trying to teach us in a manner that’s going to allow us to be successful on the field and we’re trying to work in a way that’s going to allow us to be successful on the field.”

    Atogwe also is trying to develop a bond with new strong safety James Butler, who came from the New York Giants to be reunited with Spagnuolo.

    “Me and James, our communication and just our rapport is already on high just from us being together for the last three weeks.,’’ Atogwe said. “And knowing James since we both came out in the ’05 Draft, we already have that camaraderie. I think as I continue to learn the defense — he’s a lot further ahead in the defense than I am — and we’re on the same page as far as what we know, it will just take off from there.”

    Asked if his agent has had any talks about a long-term contract with the Rams, Atogwe said, “I think there are talks in the wind. We haven’t really sat down recently to actually start working out the logistics or the specifics, but if it were to happen, then praise God. If it doesn’t, then praise God the same. I’m committed to this team. Like I said, right now I’m soon to be under a one-year franchise tag and I’ll be committed to them for that one year. If something were to happen long-term, then my commitment stands as far as the contract stands.”

  • #2
    Re: Atogwe, a consummate pro ...

    I think he deserves some money. We do need him long term and he's shown us the past two seasons that he is a top tier safety. Why shouldn't we bring him back?


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    • r8rh8rmike
      Rams' Atogwe Motivated By Franchise Tag
      by r8rh8rmike
      Rams’ Atogwe motivated by franchise tag
      6 hours, 13 minutes ago

      ST. LOUIS (AP)—Being saddled with the franchise tag did not rub St. Louis Rams free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe(notes) the wrong way.

      “That meant a lot to me,” Atogwe said Sunday after practice at Rams Park. “It was an honor, to say the least, to be that highly thought of by the organization and to be put among the top in your position in this league.

      “It doesn’t come easily. Not many players can have that said about them whether or not they think it about themselves. To have it said about me is definitely a blessing and it’s not anything I want to tarnish or even belittle a little bit.”

      Atogwe signed the $6.3 million franchise tender July 15 and reported on time to camp. He did not miss any minicamps even though he was not under contract.

      That impressed rookie coach Steve Spagnuolo, who thought Atogwe handled the franchise tag situation well.

      “I’ve told him a number of times how classy I think he has handled everything,” Spagnuolo said. “That’s a quality person right there. Forget about the football talent.

      “And, I sensed that the first time when I first got here, I visited with him in my office, and you could see that right away.”

      For Atogwe, there’s no other way to conduct himself.

      “I believe to whom much is given, much is expected,” Atogwe said. “Each one of us comes out here to be great at our jobs. In our positions, we all want to reach the pinnacle or the highest that there is. That comes with a lot of responsibility and behind that responsibility is a lot of work.”

      Certainly work is important to Atogwe. After a practice that lasted just over two hours, Atogwe went with his teammates to sign autographs and take photographs with the fans. Sunday was the last open practice for fans.

      Then Atogwe caught balls off the JUGS machine before doing some conditioning exercises.

      “I don’t mind the hard work,” Atogwe said. “I’ve been blessed to play this game and it’s by God’s grace that I’m able to work and I’ll do that for Him.”

      His body of work with the Rams, who drafted him in the third round in 2005, is impressive. He has emerged as one of the league’s top defensive talents.

      Last season, Atogwe made a career-high total of 109 tackles. He led the team in interceptions with five and forced fumbles with eight. Atogwe was voted by his teammates as Rams MVP.

      That followed a 2007 season in which Atogwe showed he was a ballhawk. He led the NFC with eight interceptions, including one off Arizona’s Kurt Warner(notes) he returned 52 yards for his lone touchdown.

      “He’s hard to play against,” Atogwe said about Warner. “He’s very intelligent. It’s like he’s playing chess on the field and it’s hard to just get a bead on where he’s going to go with the...
      -08-23-2009, 11:23 PM
    • RamWraith
      Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams
      by RamWraith
      Third-year free safety topped NFC with eight interceptions

      ST. LOUIS --After leading the NFC in interceptions this season, St. Louis Rams free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe will be one of the more attractive restricted free agents this spring.

      The Rams will retain matching rights to an any offer Atogwe receives. They'll also receive compensation in the form of draft picks from any team signing Atogwe depending on what level of one-year tender offer they make to him.

      The Rams would be wise to tender Atogwe at a first-round level to dissuade teams from pursuing him.

      "I don't even worry about all of that," Atogwe said of being a restricted free agent. "My job is to come out here and work hard and play, and that all takes care of itself. It's not even a concern of mine."

      Asked whether he wanted to remain with the Rams, Atogwe said: "I definitely enjoy being here. I don't know what my future holds. I'm just going to continue to count my blessings and see what happens."

      Atogwe said the Rams' 3-13 season didn't dampen his desire to return to the team.

      "It's not like we were a 3-13 team with guys who didn't like each other or guys who just didn't care about their jobs," Atogwe said. "There wasn't that feeling at all. We just had some bad breaks, and we didn't capitalize on some opportunities we had.

      "It's not a situation where we have a bunch of losers in the locker room. I'd love to come back here."

      Atogwe picked off his eighth pass of the season in the Rams' 48-19 season-ending loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

      Atogwe returned the interception 52 yards late in the third quarter for his first NFL touchdown.

      "I wasn't really able to enjoy it because I was feeling so bad, but I hadn't had a pick six since maybe high school," Atogwe said. "It's definitely a long time coming and something I'll cherish."

      Atogwe played against the Cardinals despite battling a stomach virus.

      "It was never a situation where I wasn't going to play," Atogwe said. "It was just how much could I take, how much could I get through. I was throwing up all day, all morning. The team needed me, and I'm just here to serve."

      Atogwe's eight interceptions ranked second in the NFL behind the 10 grabbed by San Diego's Antonio Cromartie.

      It's also the most interceptions by a Rams player since Dexter McCleon had eight in 2000.

      "It's a great honor," Atogwe said of leading the NFC in interceptions. "There's a lot of great football players in the NFC and AFC. I'm truly blessed."

      Atogwe, a third-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft out of Stanford, said his personal accomplishments in his...
      -01-02-2008, 03:24 PM
    • r8rh8rmike
      Atogwe Hopes To Be Back After Release From Rams
      by r8rh8rmike
      Atogwe hopes to be back after release from Rams

      Saturday, February 19, 2011

      Even with his release Friday by the Rams, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe says he hasn't closed the door on a possible return to the team.

      "My agent and myself have established a really good negotiating relationship with them, so were we to do something again (with the Rams), I don't believe it'd be a difficult task," Atogwe told the Post-Dispatch. "Because there's no bad blood there. We should be able to get something done."

      The only problem — for several years — has been agreeing on Atogwe's value in terms of a multi-year deal. Rather than pay an $8 million roster bonus that was due Atogwe on Monday, the Rams released the six-year veteran.

      "It's disappointing to be back in this situation, again," Atogwe said. "Not being able to actually be set at this point in time in my career — it's disappointing."

      The relative security of a long-term contract has proven frustratingly elusive for Atogwe, a third-round round pick out of Stanford in 2005.

      "I'd say it's frustrating along the lines that I haven't been able to feel at home since my rookie contract," Atogwe said. "Where you say, OK this team wants me for the long haul, for the long term."

      Atogwe was franchised following the 2008 season, then in a wrinkle of the uncapped year, reverted back to restricted free agency following the 2009 season. As for this offseason, there's no doubt that the current labor impasse between players and owners, and pending lockout, have caused teams to be more conservative financially.

      "Yeah, it has been difficult," Atogwe said. "I think that's why it's very important for us to really get a CBA done, in place and secure, so that other guys won't have to go through a similar situation as myself. And that the teams can really move on in paying their bills and grow for the long term. But for me it's definitely frustrating. I'm thankful that I still have peace throughout this, knowing that it's going to work out the way it's supposed to."

      Because he is a released player, Atogwe is free to sign with any team immediately. However, if there is no collective bargaining agreement by March 4, no veteran players — even released players such as Atogwe — can sign new contracts at that time.

      So Atogwe has a 13-day window to shop the market, but he plans to wait until there's a new labor agreement before doing so.

      "I would say I'm just going to take this time to let God speak to me and go from there," Atogwe said. "I am going to wait till the market opens and then go from there."

      Besides the $8 million roster bonus, Atogwe was due a $3.5 million base salary with the Rams in 2011, meaning he would have been...
      -02-19-2011, 01:58 PM
    • RealRam
      Atogwe Puts Himself Into a No-pouting Zone
      by RealRam
      Atogwe Puts Himself Into a No-pouting Zone :helmet:

      By Jim Thomas

      After missing the entire offseason, training camp and preseason, Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson finally reported to Houston on Sunday.

      In Carolina, defensive end Julius Peppers skipped all of the Panthers' offseason program and at one point asked to be traded before signing his one-year tender in late June.

      In Baltimore, Terrell Suggs skipped camp in '08 and might have done the same this year before signing a six-year, $63 million contract in July that made him the highest-paid linebacker in the league.

      And not that long ago in St. Louis, offensive tackle Orlando Pace went "0-for-Macomb" twice, skipping back-to-back training camps in protest of his franchise-player designation.

      As those examples indicate, it's not unusual for players slapped with the franchise tag to take it personally.

      What's unusual is the way Rams safety Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe handled his franchise-player designation this offseason. He showed up to work. Every day.

      "It is rare to have no real disagreements over offseason participation, and to have a player be so committed to being around without the contract being in the forefront," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams' executive vice president of football operations. "I was shocked throughout the process of how responsive O.J. was to Coach (Steve Spagnuolo) and to putting the team first and being here every day."

      Atogwe has started 48 consecutive games for the Rams since breaking into the lineup in 2006 as a second-year player. For the past two offseasons, he has unsuccessfully sought a long-term deal — first as a restricted free agent following the 2007 season and then as the team's franchise player following '08.

      If he's upset about his contract status, it's not showing.

      "I believe, as I've been taught, that having a reputation of good character is worth more than wealth and riches and chasing after the money," Atogwe said earlier in camp. "I feel like if I was going to be a part of the team this year, it was important — or imperative — that I was here in the offseason. Just to show my teammates that I'm committed to them, committed to what we have going on, regardless of my contract situation."

      So Atogwe was here for the team's offseason conditioning program ... the minicamps ... organized team activities ... training camp and the preseason. He considered it especially important to be around with a new coaching staff in place.

      "Being a guy that's been here with the Rams, now going on five years, some of the younger guys and even some of the vets need to see loyalty and faithfulness from the guys that have already been here," Atogwe said. "That's...
      -09-07-2009, 01:29 AM
    • RamWraith
      Atogwe Unconcerned with Free Agent Status
      by RamWraith
      By Nick Wagoner
      Senior Writer

      Before Oshiomogho Atogwe settles where his football playing future will be, he plans on finding a location as far from here as possible to get away and relax.

      “I think this offseason I am going to go somewhere and get lost and take some time to think about it,” Atogwe said. “It’s been a long year for a lot of us and it’s been a long four years for me personally.”

      The Rams’ Most Valuable Player for the 2008 season picked the right time to have perhaps his best NFL season. Atogwe is due to hit the market on Feb. 27 when the league opens up free agency.

      After finding the next head coach, retaining Atogwe (along with cornerback Ron Bartell) is perhaps the Rams’ top priority.

      “I would love to have them,” coach Jim Haslett said. “They’re both doing a great job. I think O.J. (Atogwe) still has room to improve and I think Ronnie (Bartell) still has room to improve, but I think they’re both ascending football players.”

      And with good reason, considering Atogwe’s ball hawking ways. Atogwe finished 2008 with 109 tackles (second on the team), five interceptions, eight forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

      Not many defensive players this side of Baltimore’s Ed Reed has that kind of play making resume.

      For his part, Atogwe says he likes St. Louis but understands the business aspect of the league and isn’t going to spend much time worrying about where he winds up.

      “St. Louis has treated me well, giving me the opportunity to play and I am always going to be appreciative of that,” Atogwe said. “Whatever happens, that is in God’s hands and I am not really fretting over it. I feel like I am going to be where I’m supposed to be this next year.”

      There won’t be many arguments from anyone in the Rams organization that Atogwe’s place is as the backbone of the defense for years to come.

      While fellow future free agent running back Steven Jackson held out of last year’s training camp, Atogwe attended (though he didn’t play much because of a hamstring injury) and waited his turn.

      As a restricted free agent last offseason, the Rams tendered Atogwe at the highest level and he signed the one-year tender offer without an offer from an outside team.

      At the time the Rams signed Jackson to a long term contract, it was initially assumed Atogwe would be a prime candidate for a franchise tag. That possibility still exists, especially considering the Rams’ desire to re-sign Bartell.

      The franchise number for a corner is more than a safety, meaning any one-year tag for Atogwe wouldn’t cost as much as one for Bartell. In 2008, for example, the franchise cost of a safety was roughly half of what it was for a cornerback.

      Because of uncertainty in what he’d be coming back to, Atogwe says he’s unsure about a return to St. Louis,...
      -01-14-2009, 04:31 PM