Samuel: 'of course' I want to be back

Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel wants to be back in Philly. (Michael Perez/AP)

Asante Samuel was back in Philadelphia Friday, helping to fix up a home for a single mother just a few minutes from Lincoln Financial Field.

The most pressing question for football fans is whether Samuel will be spending much more time in Philadelphia, or if he will be taking his game elsewhere.

Asked if he wants to be back as an Eagle, Samuel said simply, "of course," but didn't elaborate.

"I just take it day to day, see what the future holds," Samuel said. But he said he had not received any clear indication from the team of what their plans are for him next year.

The Eagles tried to trade Samuel after acquiring Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and many believe he could be dangled again this offseason. Samuel responded last year by lashing out at management, criticizing Joe Banner and Howie Roseman for playing "fantasy football" and dropped numerous hints that his future might lie elsewhere.

Samuel is due for a base salary increase from $5.9 million to $9.4 million next season, and the Eagles secondary struggled while his style mismatched with Asomugha's.

"I’ll play whatever I need to play," Samuel said Friday. "As long as I make the play, what difference does it make?"

Samuel said he has not yet spoken to new secondary coach Todd Bowles, officially hired last week. Watching the rival Giants win the Super Bowl, he said, provides motivation.

"You’ve got to congratulate the Giants, they did a good job, but it’s definitely tough, especially when it’s coming from your division, to see the team you have good battles with win it, so it always gives you extra motivation, an extra chip on your shoulder, knowing, if a team from your division wins it, why can’t you win it?" he said.

It was the first time reporters have had a chance to talk to Samuel since before Christmas, since the cornerback injured his hamstring, missed the final two games of the season and didn't meet with the media then.

Samuel was back in town for his charity "Bring it Home Single Moms." He donated to Habitat for Humanity of Philadelphia to help pay for renovations of a house that a single mother will purchase, and his presence Friday brought attention to the charity and the cause.

"I was raised in a single-parent home and just being fortunate to be able to buy my mother a house, it made me realize how important it was if we would have had our own house to come home to every day," Samuel said.

He said it felt like his family moved "every six months" when he was young. Samuel stayed for about an hour, priming walls with paint for television cameras to record.

Habitat for Humanity helps people afford homes, but only after showing they can pay a mortgage and contributing 350 hours of "sweat equity," including classes on managing their finances and the legal responsibilities of owning a home.

The home Samuel donated to and worked on will go to Rasheeda Manning, who has a 15-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter. They currently live in a house sagging with water damage and mold. Habitat for Humanity workers were busy renovating her new house Friday.

"They're just so ecstatic," Manning said of her children. "I wake up with it on my mind every day. I have something brighter to look forward to."

She added, "sometimes I can't believe it's true."

"It's great to partner up with Asante and his foundation," said Corinne O'Connell, associate executive director for Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia. "He brings resources and obviously passion and commitment."