Former Eagle Nnamdi Asomugah tackles his first big acting challenge in ‘Crown Heights’

Sometime between retiring as an NFL player and shooting his first big movie role as an actor, former Eagle defensive back Nnamdi Asomugah spent a few weeks as a process server in the outer boroughs of New York City.

He didn’t need the money, but he did need the experience. The work helped him prepare for his role in Crown Heights, opening Friday, the true story of Carl King (Asomugah) a Trinidadian immigrant who sees his buddy, Colin Warner, wrongly convicted of murder, and spends a super-human 20 years working the legal system to find an angle to free his friend. (You may remember the This American Life episode based on King and Warner’s story.)

That’s where being a process server comes in. In real life, King took the job to meet lawyers, hoping to find one who would take Warner’s case. Asomugah took the job to walk in Carl’s shoes.

“That was … interesting,” said Asomugah, with a laugh. “Knocking on doors telling people they’ve been served, watching people running, or cussing you out. Or not answering the door, even though you can hear them talking just on the other side.”

If they ran from Asomugah, they were unlikely to get far. The former cornerback once ran a 4.45 second 40-yard-dash and still looks as  fit and trim as he did in his days in football —  he played eight years with the Oakland Raiders, two with the Eagles. During his time in the league he made a Nike commercial directed by Peter Berg, the filmmaker who’d go on to make Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon. Berg asked him to take a role in his TV show Friday Night Lights (he played a part in the fourth season…

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