NASHVILLE – Ugo Amadi says it’s time to write another story.
Obviously, it won’t be a sequel You can’t go home againThomas Wolfe’s novel published posthumously more than 80 years ago, roughly two years after the author’s death.
The Tennessee Titans’ decision to trade for Amadi brought the 25-year-old linebacker back to his hometown and gave him the opportunity to play on a field he first experienced during his early days in the sport. Amadi said he was six years old when he attended a youth soccer game at Nissan Stadium, home of the Titans since 1999.
And unlike George Webber, Wolfe’s fictional protagonist, the locals on this occasion quickly made it clear they couldn’t be happier for Amadi’s return.
“I just couldn’t believe it, you know,” he said when informed of the deal. “Everything happened so fast.
“… I was already on the flight to Tennessee [when the deal was announced]. So when I came down, it was crazy.”
Countless test messages warning, “You’re home,” “You’re home,” “You’re home!” greeted him upon arrival.
So did the reality of his situation as he was traded for the second time in less than two weeks. The Titans acquired Amadi from the Philadelphia Eagles, who acquired him in a trade of their own nine days earlier.
Amadi’s first practice with his newest team was the last full practice of training camp. It was two days before the final preseason contest (Saturday against the Arizona Cardinals) and just over two weeks before the 2022 opener against the New York Giants.
Scroll to Continue
The first step is learning the nickel back (aka slotback) position, a clear indication that franchise officials are concerned about Elijah Molden’s ongoing injury issues. Molden was the primary option at that spot a year ago but was injured in the opening days of camp, returned to action briefly after the preseason opener, but quickly returned to exclusively rehab work.
At 5-foot-9, 201 pounds, Amadi is built to match up with the shorter, more mobile receivers who typically line up in the slot. Plus, he has experience in that role during his three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, the team that selected him in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
“Well, you get worried here when guys start going down,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “(Amadi) played there. He has experience. I think there is some physicality that comes through. He causes the run game. He will flash.
“As teams start to lean more toward playing three wide receivers on the field, we have to make sure we have enough of those guys that have played there.”
Eventually, however, expect Amadi to expand his role to other parts of the defense. He can also play safety, traditional cornerback and was a big contributor on special teams during his time in Seattle.
For his career, he is credited with 125 tackles, one interception, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery, along with 18 tackles on special teams.
“To be able to play multiple positions, … I understand that’s very rare,” Amadi said. “Especially in today’s league, it’s a passing league. You need guys that can cover, can hit, guys that can get coverages very quickly.
“I definitely have to play catch up. We have a game coming up this week. It will be a lot, but … you just have to turn the page and prepare for a new story.”
The final chapter will be when he actually walks through the doors of his home and greets his family.
“It’s actually funny,” Amadi said. “When I got off, I was about to call my mom and my sister, but I said, ‘Look, this is not that kind of trip. I will stay with the team now until I reach my place.”