Jerry Azumah

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Jerry Azumah
No. 23
Cornerback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1977-09-01) September 1, 1977 (age 36)
Place of birth: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Career information
College: New Hampshire
NFL Draft: 1999 / Round: 5 / Pick: 147
Debuted in 1999 for the Chicago Bears
Last played in 2005 for the Chicago Bears
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Interceptions 10
INT return yards 206
Touchdowns 3

Jerry Azumah (ah-ZOO-muh; born September 1, 1977) is a former American football cornerback who played seven seasons for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of New Hampshire, and was selected by the Bears in the fifth round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He is currently a businessman and philanthropist.

Early Years[edit]

Azumah is the first generation American son of Theophilus and Bertha Azumah, natives of Ghana West Africa. He is also related to Ben Azumah of Richmond, Virginia. Azumah was born in Oklahoma and grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts. At an early age, he played for the Worcester Vikings Pop Warner football team.[1] Azumah attended Saint Peter-Marian High School receiving football honors as a Central Massachusetts and Shriners All-Star.

Collegiate Years[edit]

Azumah attended the University of New Hampshire where he was a four-year starter on offense. He was an All-American tailback. At the time Azumah was the only player in Division I-AA history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons at UNH.

In 1999, Azumah was the first recipient of the Jim Urquhart Student-Athlete of the Year Award. This annual award is bestowed upon UNH senior student-athletes who excel both in athletic competition and the classroom, in addition to possessing sportsmanship, great character and passion for sports.[2]

During Azumah's senior year he was elected, by unanimous vote, All-American and All-Atlantic 10 Conference while shattering conference and school season records with 22 touchdowns and 2,195 rushing yards.[3] He also won the Walter Payton Award as the best offensive player in Division I-AA football.

In his college playing career, Azumah set the Division I-AA career rushing record with 6,193 yards. He also set the Division I-AA record with 8,276 career all-purpose yards. In 2005 Azumah was inducted into the New Hampshire Wildcats Athletic Council Hall of Fame.[4]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
5 ft 10 in 195 lb 4.48 s 1.52 s 2.62 s 3.86 s 43.5 in 11 ft 0 in 15 reps
All from NFL Combine.[5]

NFL career[edit]

Azumah was selected by the Chicago Bears as the 147th pick of the 1999 NFL Draft out of the University of New Hampshire. In Azumah's first year with the Chicago Bears, he won the prestigious Brian Piccolo Award. This award is given to a Chicago Bear by his teammates. Brian Piccolo played four season as a running back for the Chicago Bears from 1965-1968. Piccolo died from cancer in 1970 when he was just 26 years old. The Chicago Bears created the Brian Piccolo award to honor a teammate's courage, loyalty, teamwork and dedication.[6]

Azumah, who was a running back in college, continued to make the transition into a NFL defense back. As his NFL experience grew, he also saw time on special teams and special situations on defense. In 2001 Azumah was given a contract extension. On January 19, 2002, during the divisional playoff game versus the Philadelphia Eagles, Azumah intercepted then quarterback Donovan McNabb and returned the ball 39 yards for a touchdown. That was the last touchdown scored in old Soldier Field.[7]

His best season came in 2003, when he led the league in kickoff returns with a twenty-nine-yard average and two touchdowns. In 2004 Azumah was selected to represent the NFC in the NFL Pro Bowl as a kick returner. In that game Azumah broke the record for yards per return with 228. He also recovered a fumble.[8]

For Azumah's career, he appeared in 105 games with 48 starts. He had 384 tackles, 10 interceptions, 29 pass defense, 6.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and one recovery. Azumah retired in March, 2006.[9]

Post NFL Professional Career[edit]

He now does Bears post game coverage and commentary on WFLD-TV, Fox Chicago and appears weekly on Fox Chicago's Good Day Chicago.[10] Azumah started his television broadcasting career on Comcast SportsNet Chicago in 2006 as a post game analyst and feature reporter. Azumah also worked for ESPN 1000 radio in Chicago in 2010.[11]

In 2009, Azumah joined Premier Relocation, a relocation company based in Chicago. Under this company he created Premier Athletes, a luxury real estate concierge service for professional athletes.[12]

Philanthropic Activity[edit]

Azumah became a board member of the University of New Hampshire Foundation in 2001. The Foundation builds private support for the University of New Hampshire. In the summer of 2003, Azumah donated a six-figure gift to the Foundation which was directed to the University's athletic department. The Jerry Azumah Performance Center was a direct result of Azumah's gift. At age 25, Azumah became the youngest UNH alumnus to give a gift over $100,000.[13]

In 2004 Azumah started the Azumah Student Assistance Program (ASAP). ASAP is a 501c3 charitable organization and provides scholarships for disadvantaged students that attend private, secondary education. The program helps students in both Massachusetts and Illinois.[14]

As a retired member of the Chicago Bears Football Club, Azumah joined the board of directors of Bears Care, the philanthropic arm of the Chicago Bears. Bears Care was founded in 1989 and supports youth athletics, education and medical research and treatment programs for breast and ovarian cancer.[15]

References[edit]

External links[edit]