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  • Atogwe Hopes To Be Back After Release From Rams

    Atogwe hopes to be back after release from Rams

    BY JIM THOMAS
    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 due $11.5 million total.

    Atogwe, 29, has been a starter the past five seasons for the Rams and was the team's defensive captain in 2010 in voting done by his teammates. He was used more in the box in 2010, limiting his opportunities for interceptions but blitzing more than he had in the past.

    "I believe that in the positions they put me in I continued to make plays, continued to help the defense be successful," Atogwe said. "And continued to do all the things that I believe are necessary to be a good player in this league and be a good teammate."

    Atogwe had three interceptions and three forced fumbles in 2010. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2006, Atogwe has 43 combined forced fumbles and interceptions, the most in the NFL over that span.

    Rams officials and coaches declined to comment on Atogwe's release, but general manager Billy Devaney said in a statement: "This is a decision we have made at this time with O.J. We will continue to explore all of our options at the safety position like we will with every other position on our football team."

    For now, Atogwe plans to keep working out while hoping that a labor agreement comes sooner rather than later. He has one other item on his offseason agenda: a spring wedding. He's marrying Jill Singletary, the daughter of former San Francisco ***** head coach Mike Singletary.

    "I was hoping all this would be settled before then and I could focus on that," Atogwe said. "But that's life. You deal with it."

  • #2
    Re: Atogwe Hopes To Be Back After Release From Rams

    Common Rams, the team is finally starting to come together and things are looking up... we NEED to keep O.J. around.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Atogwe Hopes To Be Back After Release From Rams

      I for one never question any move done by Billy D. and Spags, but this one has me scratching my head.

      O.J. Atogwe is not only one of my favorite players on this team, but he is also an elite player. They have got to bring him back. After reading this article it gives me hope that they will bring him back.

      I will say O.J is a better man than me, cause from the outside this looks really bad. It looks to me like they just did not want to pay him his bonus. If it was me I would be furious, and would go on to play somewhere else. This also does not look good for other players on this team. I just dissagree with this move 100%.

      I dont understand why it was made, and I think their are other reasons at play here that we are not aware of. Well heres to keeping my fingers crossed that he comes back.

      Go Rams 2011

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Atogwe Hopes To Be Back After Release From Rams

        If I were the rams in this situation I would have done the same thing to avoid paying a roster bonus.. People should realize what running a business is like, I don't know anything about business but I'm being realistic about it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Atogwe Hopes To Be Back After Release From Rams

          The Rams and Atogwe both knew that he wasn't going to get that bonus this year. In my opinion the more ethical move would have been re-constructing his contract rather than releasing him.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Atogwe Hopes To Be Back After Release From Rams

            its obvious the reason it was made is because of the huge roster bonus he as due, on top of his regular salary. Atogwe is good and a value to the team but he was deemed not worthy of the financial commitment it would take to keep him. Atogwe is not irreplaceable even though I do hope he is resigned.

            Releasing Atogwe is simply a business move and Atogwe actually understands this is a part of the NFL, thats why hes not upset about the move.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Atogwe Hopes To Be Back After Release From Rams

              Originally posted by Bralidore(RAMMODE) View Post
              its obvious the reason it was made is because of the huge roster bonus he as due, on top of his regular salary. Atogwe is good and a value to the team but he was deemed not worthy of the financial commitment it would take to keep him. Atogwe is not irreplaceable even though I do hope he is resigned.

              Releasing Atogwe is simply a business move and Atogwe actually understands this is a part of the NFL, thats why hes not upset about the move.
              Please identify the free agent safety who is in the list of "players QBs will never throw at if they can at all help it because only bad things will happen" who we can sign. Because Atogwe is most certainly on that list.

              Comment

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              • r8rh8rmike
                Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs
                by r8rh8rmike
                Atogwe will skip offseason programs

                BY JIM THOMAS
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                03/12/2010


                A year ago at this time, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe showed up for the start of the Rams' offseason conditioning program and took part in minicamps, OTAs (organized team activities) and training camp.

                He didn't miss a thing even though he was named the team's franchise player, an unpopular designation for players seeking long-term deals.

                But that won't be the case this year. The Rams' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, and Atogwe will not be in attendance. In fact, barring a change in contract status, Atogwe will be a no-show at all team activities this spring and summer, according to league sources.

                Atogwe and his agent have declined comment since the Rams last week tendered Atogwe at $1.226 million, the lowest possible tender as a restricted free agent for someone with Atogwe's experience level in the NFL.

                Those who know Atogwe say he's not angry, that he gets it he understands this is the business side of the NFL. Nonetheless, those close to Atogwe say he isn't sure what to make of the Rams' low tender offer and wonders if the Rams might be dangling him as potential trade bait.

                At the low tender level, the Rams have matching rights if Atogwe gets an offer from another team. But the Rams get no draft pick compensation if they decide not to match. But if Atogwe does get an outside offer, there's nothing to stop the Rams from telling the other team: "We won't match if you give us a draft pick."

                This is the third offseason in a row that Atogwe has sought a long-term deal. He played as a restricted free agent in 2008 under a one-year tender of just over $2 million. Last year, he played for $6.34 million as the Rams' franchise player.

                Had the Rams tendered Atogwe at any other level this offseason, he would've been entitled to $6.976 million in 2010, or 110 percent of what he made last year. So at the moment the low tender is costing him $5.75 million

                The collective bargaining agreement hasn't been kind to Atogwe. Because 2010 is an uncapped year, Atogwe reverted back to restricted free agency status this offseason. With five years NFL experience, he would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency in a year with a salary cap. But in an uncapped year, it takes six years experience to be unrestricted.

                On Monday, when the Rams' start their offseason conditioning program, Atogwe will be in Hawaii for the NFL Players Association's annual convention. Once he returns, he will continue his rehab from shoulder surgery and work out on his own away from Rams Park. Before suffering the shoulder injury Dec. 6 against Chicago, Atogwe had started 60 consecutive games for St. Louis. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2006, Atogwe has more interceptions and forced fumbles...
                -03-12-2010, 12:23 PM
              • RamWraith
                Atogwe hopes to remain with Rams
                by RamWraith
                Third-year free safety topped NFC with eight interceptions
                BY STEVE KORTE
                News-Democrat


                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, 04:24 PM
              • AvengerRam_old
                Atogwe: How did we get here?
                by AvengerRam_old
                O.J. Atogwe has never come out and publicly complained about his contract. That does not, however, mean he has been reasonable in his demands.

                Let's review...

                Atogwe's first contract was a three-year deal signed after he was drafted in Round 3 of the 2005.

                In 2007, his rookie contract expired. At that point, Atogwe had become a very productive starter, having finished 2007 with 75 tackles and 8 interceptions. The Rams retained him with an RFA tender of about $2M. They likely did not push too had for a long term deal, given that they were negotiating with Steven Jackson at that time (signed just before the 2008 season).

                Last year, Atogwe became a UFA. Again, Atogwe was coming off a fine seaso (85 tackles, 5 interceptions,6 forced fumbles). The Rams tried to sign him to a long-term deal, even before the season ended. Ultimately, the Rams retained him with the franchise tag and paid Atogwe nearly $7M.

                I think its fair to say that, at that point, both sides were gambling. Had Atogwe accumulated similar stats in 2009 to those he had in 2007 and 2008, he might have made the Pro Bowl, and he'd clearly command elite FS money.

                Instead, Atogwe had a somewhat down season, and finished the year on injured reserve. He is now coming off two offseason surgeries.

                Given these circumstances, the Rams did no wish to tender Atogwe a sum that would lock him in, as doing so could result in paying $7M to a player who might not even be 100% healthy. Instead, the Rams made a low tender and retained a right of first refusal, hoping to sign Atogwe to a long term deal.

                Those efforts have, at this point, failed, and Atogwe is now a UFA.

                So... who's to blame?

                I'd say, nobody is. Both sides have behaved in a rational manner, applying varying degrees of risk aversion.

                In hindsight, I think one could argue that Atogwe waited too long. He should have signed a long-term deal in 2009 when his value was at its highest. Now, if he is seeking the kind of money he would have received then, he might not only be pricing himself out of the Rams' market, he might also be eliminating several other teams.

                I do think there is a reasnable middle ground that makes sense for both sides, but I don't know if they'll meet there. If not, I'm not going to blame anyone. I'll just wish Atogwe luck and hope the Rams find their answer at FS on the current roster or among the remaining FAs.
                -06-02-2010, 10:25 AM
              • RamWraith
                Atogwe steps up as a takeaway artist for the Rams
                by RamWraith
                By Jim Thomas
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                12/11/2008

                Oshiomogho Atogwe's nickname is "O.J.," but an update may be necessary. Something along the lines of "O.J., the Human Takeaway" may be more appropriate.

                Atogwe got off to a slow start this season because of a hamstring injury that sidelined him for most of training camp and the preseason. But beginning with an interception against Buffalo in Game 4, Atogwe has been a takeaway waiting to happen.

                In seven of the past 10 games, Atogwe has been responsible for at least one takeaway, either in the form of an interception, a fumble recovery, or a forced fumble recovered by a Rams teammate.

                "O.J.'s a heck of a football player," coach Jim Haslett said recently. "I think people are starting to recognize that. The guy's a ball magnet. He does a great job punching the balls out."

                Say what you will about the Rams' struggling defense, it's hard to argue with Atogwe's numbers. In 13 games this season, the Rams have 17 takeaways. Atogwe has been responsible for 10 of them.

                He has four interceptions, recovered two fumbles, and four of his forced fumbles have been recovered by teammates. Atogwe returned one of those recovered fumbles 75 yards for a key touchdown in the Rams' 19-17 victory over Washington.

                "My mother told me a long time ago: 'Everybody has their time,' " Rams cornerback Jonathan Wade said. "Whatever you're doing, you have a time that's your time. You wonder how Ed Reed will end up year after year with eight, nine interceptions? How Ray Lewis has 100-something tackles?

                "There's no way to explain it, I don't think. It's just his time. He's very focused; very anointed by God right now."

                Atogwe didn't seem all that "anointed" coming out of Stanford in 2005.

                "When he first got here, he didn't have the best ball skills," Haslett said. "He worked on it and worked on it."

                Atogwe made it a point and still does to come in on Tuesdays, the players' normal day off during the regular sesason, and work on those ball skills.

                "It was one of the weaknesses that I felt I had that I wasn't making a lot of plays as far as interceptions on the ball," Atogwe said.

                On Tuesdays, equipment assistant Matt Taylor operates a JUGS machine that spits out football after football Atogwe's way.

                "He'll do anywhere between 200 and 300 balls, and I'll just catch them," Atogwe said. "He shoots them to me from all different angles."

                Slowly but surely, Atogwe's hand-eye coordination improved, and so did his interception totals. After recording just one interception in limited playing time as a rookie, Atogwe picked off three passes in 2006, his first season as a starter. Last...
                -12-11-2008, 05:09 AM
              • RamWraith
                Atogwe overcomes illness for a strong finish
                by RamWraith
                By Bill Coats and Kathleen Nelson
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                Tuesday, Jan. 01 2008

                Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe was sick to his stomach Sunday. And it had nothing to
                do with the Rams' queasy 48-19 season-ending loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

                Atogwe was fighting a virus that wasn't enough to force him to the sideline,
                but did cause him to stretch out on the visitors locker room floor for several
                minutes afterward before dragging himself off to the showers.

                Despite the illness, Atogwe put together a strong finish to a breakout season.
                The third-year pro from Stanford, a third-round draft pick in 2005, picked off
                his eighth pass tops in the NFC for the season late in the third quarter
                and took it back 52 yards for his first NFL touchdown.

                Leading the conference is "a great honor," Atogwe said. "I wasn't able to enjoy
                it because I was feeling so bad. But it's something I'll cherish."

                San Diego's Antonio Cromartie was the league leader, with 10.

                No Rams defender had picked off as many passes in a season since cornerback
                Dexter McCleon also had eight in 2000. Atogwe grabbed a total of four
                interceptions in his first two seasons before doubling that number this year.

                "You're happy that you're playing well, but you don't trade individual success
                for the team's, because there's nothing like playing in January and February,"
                he said. "That's what you really remember when all is said and done."

                The Rams, of course, will have no such memories. Their 3-13 record was the
                team's poorest since moving here in 1995. Still, Atogwe stressed that in the
                NFL, fortunes can change quickly.

                "This year is disappointing, but that has nothing to do with next year," he
                said. "If we put in our work and come back with a different attitude and
                improve on some things, you never know what's going to happen. ...

                "It's not like we were a 3-13 team where guys didn't like each other or guys
                didn't care about their jobs. It wasn't that feeling at all. It was just that
                we had some bad breaks, and we didn't capitalize on our opportunities. ... We
                don't have a bunch of losers in the locker room."

                Atogwe, who is scheduled to become a restricted free agent, paused when asked
                Monday whether he wanted to return in 2008.

                "I definitely enjoy being here," he said. "But it's not something I worry about
                or stress about; what's going to happen will happen. I played well this year. I
                held up my end of the bargain."
                -01-01-2008, 06:11 AM
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