Monday's Daily News will feature an interview with a guy several fans have e-mailed asking about, 2008 fourth-round corner Jack Ikegwuonu. Ikegwuonu missed the 2008 season after ACL surgery, but before that, off-the-field questions were complicating what once looked like a smooth path to stardom at Wisconsin.
Here are a few excerpts:
Ikegwuonu, now 23, is working out at NovaCare, anxious for Eagles minicamps to begin, anxious to begin proving that he can still be the player he seemed on the verge of becoming early in his college career at Wisconsin.
The Eagles, who drafted Ikegwuonu in the fourth round last year despite ACL surgery and a pending court case that raised character questions for some teams, seem to have him penciled in as their “dime” corner. At least, they have for now, though they haven’t seen him on the field in a full-squad situation since they acquired him. The Birds traded Lito Sheppard to the Jets and have not moved to replace Sheppard in free agency, although with 12 picks in next month’s draft, they certainly could still add a corner or two.
“This organization has done enough for me; I need to start giving back,” Ikegwuonu said recently, a few days after getting the medical go-ahead to join offseason workouts with the team’s other 2008 rookies. “I completely feel that they expect me to play, expect me to be ready to play. I try not to read into what the team is doing – they know what they’re doing, they’re going to make their decisions based directly on my development. How hard I work is probably going to affect what they do. All I can do is worry about myself, worry about my knee, worry about the impression I’m making on the coaching staff.”
Ikegwuonu also addresses the questions about his character arising from a burglary arrest and a Facebook photo that seemed to show him sitting near a bong.
"Being the person that I am, being brought up the way I was brought up, things like that are very embarrassing to me," he said. "I would love to move forward … That’s not me, obviously; people who know me know those are things I don’t associate with … My nose is clean. If I was concerned about something like that, I would not be here, I would not be doing this organization justice.”