Seattle, Wash.--While many former Auburn players have plenty of chances to get back to the Plains following their careers, for wide receiver Ben Obomanu it has been more of a challenge.
Playing across the country with the Seattle Seahawks, he hasn’t seen Auburn play during the season since he left in 2005, but this past spring he got the next best thing.
On campus for the A-Day Game as part of the 2000-2010 All-Decade team, the Selma native says that getting the opportunity to see Auburn once again in person was a real treat.
“It was very exciting for me especially being that I‘m so far away in Seattle,” Obomanu tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. “Unlike some of these guys I don’t have much of an opportunity to come back. I haven’t been to a game since I left. Our bye weeks never coincide with a game in Auburn.
"It just felt great to be back and see all the new stuff they have on campus and meet the new coaching staff," Obomanu says. "There are some familiar faces and some new faces. More important is seeing the people that make Auburn football what it is. The people behind the scenes. The recruiting people, Chette Williams, everybody.
“Just to come back and see the transition with Coach (Gene) Chizik coming in is real good,” Obomanu adds. “A lot of guys that played in my time know Chizik already. To see the enthusiasm from the players and fans means a lot.
"One thing about Auburn that never gets old is when you’re in the NFL and meet all these other guys that played at Auburn and against Auburn, they all say the same thing. It’s about that Auburn Family and Jordan-Hare Stadium. I tell them all the time that if you think playing in it for one game is fun you should do it for four years. It felt good to get back and relive those memories.”
Along with one-time Seattle teammate Courtney Taylor, Obomanu was named one of the wide receivers on the team after a productive career on the Plains. Ninth in school history with 97 career receptions, Obomanu had 1,313 yards and managed 18 touchdown receptions. That is good enough for second in school history.
Even with those impressive credentials, Obomanu still wasn’t sure he had done enough to be honored, even after getting the good news.
“It really meant a lot to me,” Obomanu says of being honored. “For me there was kind of a joke that came with it. I got a message that told me I was on the All-Decade team and it came on April Fool’s Day. I thought someone was trying to play the biggest April Fool’s joke in the history of Auburn so I disregarded the message. I didn’t call back or anything.
"The next day there was another call so I thought it might be legit," he adds. "It was an honor and a privilege, especially receiver-wise. There were a lot of great players that I played with and a lot of guys before me and after me, too. Just to realize I made an impact at Auburn was amazing to think about.”
Obomanu is shown in action with the Tigers.
Drafted in the seventh round by Seattle following his senior year in 2005, Obomanu has had a rollercoaster career to this point in the Great Northwest. Playing in 27 career games, he has 16 catches for 221 yards and one touchdown. The bulk of that came in 2007 when he broke through with 12 catches for 180 yards as the Seahawks made a run in the playoffs. Trying to get back into the mix with new coach Pete Carroll at the helm, Obomanu said right now he’s just working hard and hoping to make some noise.
“I’ve had my ups and downs in Seattle but everything has been fine,” Obomanu says. “It has been a blessing to play in the NFL. I had some good years early on and our team went to the playoffs. The last couple of years we’ve been struggling a little bit. I’m still trying to put my stamp on the Seahawks and the NFL in general. The outlook this year looks pretty good. In the NFL they want guys with experience and this being my fifth year, I’ve put my time in. Hopefully I’ll see some rewards for that.”
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