Tag:O.J. Atogwe
Posted on: March 4, 2011 1:19 pm

Atogwe won't take No. 21

O. Atogwe will not take S. Taylor's No. 21 Washington jersey (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

New Redskins FS O.J. Atogwe – who signed a five-year, $26 million deal with Washington on Thursday – already has begun to ingratiate himself with his new fans.

Atogwe, while in St. Louis, wore No. 21, and normally, star players who are with a new team will do whatever it takes to make sure they secure the same numbered jersey at their new stop (mostly, this is accomplished through cash or other bribes with the player who already happens to be wearing that jersey number).

In Washington, though, No. 21 is sacred. That was the number worn by FS Sean Taylor – tragically gunned down by intruders inside his home in 2007 – and it hasn’t been issued by the Redskins since.

Atogwe, though, will not try to take that number. In a tweet this morning, Atogwe wrote, “With all due respect, I will not be rocking nor even asking to rock 21.”

In response, NBC Washington brings up an interesting question: will anybody ever wear No. 21 for the Redskins? The organization doesn’t retire jersey numbers, but it looks like Taylor’s jersey is unofficially retired, the same way Mike Webster’s No. 52 is unofficially retired with the Steelers.

Which, I think, is a pretty cool tribute. And it’s doubly cool that Atogwe understands and appreciates that.

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Posted on: February 18, 2011 5:38 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 5:40 pm

Rams release safety O.J. Atogwe

Posted by Will Brinson

OJ Atogwe was set to become a very rich(er) man on February 21, as he was due an $8 million roster bonus from the Rams on that date. Unfortunately for Atogwe, the Rams released him on Friday.

Atogwe's the third big-name safety dumped in the past few hours -- the Colts released Bob Sanders earlier in the day and the Texans cut Eugene Wilson -- but his release isn't surprising because of the big chunk of change the Rams owed him.

It could be considered a bit odd, though, as the Rams signed him just last season to a $32 million, five-year deal.

Brian McIntyre reports that Atogwe had a "Valentine's Day Massacre" clause in his contract that allowed him to void the deal before the Rams cut him by alerting the team before February 14. Obviously, Atogwe wasn't going to that, and it left St. Louis with no real choice other than releasing him.

Atogwe might even have a better shot at finding work than Sanders, if only because the former Colt is considered a tremendous health risk, whereas Atogwe's been fairly reliable since being drafted by St. Louis in 2005.

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Posted on: October 6, 2010 4:26 pm

Hot Routes 10.5.10: No Randy Moss here

Posted by Andy Benoit and Josh Katzowitz

- Bengals coach Marvin Lewis isn’t a big fan of the fact that Tampa Bay is paying Cincinnati draftee Dezmon Briscoe the league minimum of $325,000 when practice squad players usually make about $90,000 a year.

- Nobody seems to be sure what’s going on with Matthew Stafford’s throwing shoulder. Great news for Shaun Hill.

- One Carolina writer is calling for the Panthers to get electrifying (or, at this point, potentially electrifying) rookie Armanti Edwards on the field.

- Not a bad Q and A from Indy Star readers. One asked why we haven’t seen more of Colts first-round rookie Jerry Hughes (this link was actually found because Andy was Googling that very question). Another asked – and it’s shocking this question actually made it into the article – why Josh Scobee was not flagged for removing his helmet after his 59-yard field goal. Real quick: the Hughes answer – he’s coming along slowly and still transitioning to the NFL. The Scobee answer – the game clock had expired (which is why the question about his helmet removal is completely ridiculous).

- Aaron Rodgers was voted as the new Player Rep for the Green Bay Packers. It is unknown how much the quarterback spent on his campaign.

- Beanie Wells is not happy with his role in Arizona. On Monday he vowed to meet with Ken Whisenhunt.

- Ravens waive Prince Miller. Noteworthy because, hey, who knew the Ravens had a guy on the roster named Prince?

- Here’s one way to fight an inevitable blackout. O.J. Atogwe is from Windsor, MI, which makes the Rams at Lions game somewhat of a homecoming for him. Atogwe purchased 60 tickets for the game.

- Mike Shanahan said something nice about Albert Haynesworth. Seriously.

-There is talk about the barfing rookie Joe McKnight being a two-way player for the Jets. That’s a considerable promotion from his current zero-way player role. Apparently, McKnight has been impressive as a scout team corner.

- Ray Edwards is always calling out the NFL, it seems. And, unfortunately for the NFL, Edwards seems to be a pretty smart guy.

- Like the Jets, the Packers also have a get safe home emergency plan. It’s a good bet Braylon Edwards wouldn’t use either service

- A couple of wins have quickly changed the atmosphere in St. Louis

- Willis McGahee is romantically linked to reality TV star Kandi Burruss of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”. We have our own Josh Katzowitz, an Atlanta-area resident as of August, investigating.

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Posted on: June 23, 2010 2:04 pm

Atogwe Back with the Rams

In a somewhat surprise move, the Rams have re-signed safety O.J. Atogwe to a five-year deal, believed to be worth in the neighborhood of $5 million per year. Atogwe, who has 15 interceptions over the last three seasons, was St. Louis’s franchise tag player in ’09. He was tendered as an RFA this offseason but was able win his unrestricted free agency. However, his reported asking price of $7 million a season was too high.

The Rams desperately need Atogwe’s services. He is the closest thing to playmaker in a secondary filled with backups.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch offered more:

"Coach Steve Spagnuolo said in a statement: "We are excited to have O.J. back in the fold. "We were always hopeful for this result. We look forward to having his leadership, character and talent back on our defense."

Negotiations have taken twists and turns. The Rams and Atogwe couldn't work out a multiyear deal earlier in the spring, then the team declined to pay him the one-year tender amount of $6,976,000 that he was due as an unrestricted free agent.

Among his career highlights: 19 interceptions and 19 forced fumbles, the largest combined total in the NFL since the start of 2006. He led the NFC in interceptions In 2007 with eight."

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 18, 2010 6:27 pm

Atogwe Would Make Sense in Dallas

Jerry Jones pledged to make aggressive changes this past offseason. He stuck by his word when he released Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin. But aside from those moves, the Cowboys have been non-players this offseason. To be fair, Dallas didn’t have many – if any – holes to plug, and the uncapped year put stiff limitations on what the final eight playoffs teams from ’09 could do in free agency.

But now Jones has a golden opportunity to fill the vacancy at free safety left after Hamlin’s release. And sitting on the market is interception machine O.J. Atogwe. The former Ram is not a superstar (or even a general star, for that matter) but he’s a smart, rangy player who can stabilize a defensive backfield’s centerfield coverage. Atogwe is reportedly asking for $7 million annually, which is too high but roughly what he made as the Rams’ franchise player last season ($6.3 million, to be exact).

Currently, Dallas has athletic but untested Alan Ball slated to replace Hamlin. Last year’s fifth-round pick, Mike Hamlin (no relation), is the No. 2. Mike Hamlin did not play in ’09. Ball is intriguing, but his best work has come as a nickel or dime back, where he’s able to use more of his cornerback-quality skills lining up near the numbers. By making Ball the starter, Dallas is banking on inexperience and compromising their versatile depth.

Still, Jones has insisted his team isn’t interested in making any changes at safety. Do the Cowboys need Atogwe? Not really. But could they use him. You bet.

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 17, 2010 10:47 pm

Movement on the Atogwe front

For much of the offseason, much has been made about the saga of free agent S O.J. Atogwe, who was released by the St. Louis Rams after they offered him a $5 million pay cut and he declined to sign. He’s also kind of a big deal, because Atogwe is the most high-profile free agent on the market. 

After a few weeks of almost no movement, The NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora reported that the Seahawks finally are showing some interest in him. Atogwe was made the Rams franchise player last season, and although he’s coming off shoulder surgery, he’ll be 29 next week and has accumulated 18 interceptions in the past four seasons. In other words, he's a good, good player.

The problem, of course, is that what team would want to sign him to a long-term deal when there’s so much uncertainty about the 2011 season? The Rams also are going through an ownership change, which certainly isn’t helping matters.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: June 16, 2010 6:29 pm

Bears GM on Idea of Adding O.J. Atogwe

It’s rare to see top-quality players still in their prime hitting the free agent market in June. But thanks to uncommon stipulations put forth by the uncapped year, this scenario has played out with free safety O.J. Atogwe. One of the better ballhawks in football (statistically speaking) is available, and seemingly every GM who doesn’t already have Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, Eric Berry, Antoine Bethea, Darren Sharper or Nick Collins on their roster has had to field questions about the six-year pro.

This includes Bears GM Jerry Angelo. Since Mike Brown left, the Bears have fruitlessly shuffled safeties in hopes of finding the right fit. They seem destined to do so again this year, though don’t expect Atogwe to be part of the shuffle. Here’s what Angelo told the team’s website today:

“[Atogwe] is a good football player. We’ve evaluated him and we like him. But at this point, we’re set. We drafted Major Wright and traded for Chris Harris. We also have Danieal Manning, Craig Steltz and Josh Bullocks, all of whom have started in this league. We have five pretty good safeties, four of whom have a goodly amount of experience within our scheme. We feel good about that position.”

Though the Bears probably won’t sign Atogwe, let’s shake out the nonsense in Angelo’s statements.

First off, this is the same Jerry Angelo who, days before cutting Nathan Vasher, said he would not cut Nathan Vasher. (He even gave a logical explanation, which was that the cornerback had already been paid most of his money.) Can you blame Angelo for misleading the media here? No, it’s part of his job. But because of this, we have to take a heavy grain of salt with everything he says. In this Atogwe case, Angelo is talking to ChicagoBears.com. Think there’s a lot of hard-hitting journalists and muckrakers working for that site? The GM can say whatever he wants and not be pressed for accountability.

As for the statement itself, Angelo is right about Major Wright and Chris Harris being viable pieces. Wright, like any rookie at this point, is an enigma, but the Bears drafted him to start at free safety. Harris is a punishing hitter who knows the scheme.

But Angelo is blowing smoke when he talks about Manning, Steltz and Bullocks. These men are NOT quality safeties. If they were, Wright and Harris wouldn’t have been brought in. These three safeties all have starting experience, but only because none of them could keep a starting job. They’ve spent years rotating in and out of the lineup with each other.

Again, it’s the GM’s job to paint a rosy picture. But with no games being played to expose the falsity of these rosy pictures right now, we’re compelled to write snarky blogs when our B.S. detector goes off.

--Andy Benoit

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com