Call it a double-positive for Ugo Amadi.
First, the safety agreed to terms with the New Orleans Saints, a team he believes is on the cusp of something big.
"I feel like the Saints are going to do something special," he said Thursday. "They've always been a team that's right on the verge and come short toward the end. I feel like this is the year we can do something special.
"They've just been so close. Even last year was so close to winning the division. That game, I remember watching that on TV. I feel like they're just a play away, a play away and once they make that one play, the city is going to love them. And we're talking deep run in the playoffs."
Second, Amadi will have the chance to play with Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu. And he's a Honey Badger fan, all in.
"Tyrann Mathieu is by far my favorite football player," Amadi said. "I always try to implement what he does, but add my own style to it – being rangy, being around the ball all the time, those are things people like to see and he's been doing that for a very long time, consistently."
So when he walks into his new locker room and sees the man who's play he wants to emulate, he's not going to melt, but he's going to cherish the moment.
"I try to keep everybody on the same platform, but him being my favorite player, it's going to be special," Amadi said. "When a guy like him, when you have a certain type of respect, guys tend to play harder knowing that you have a guy like that next to you."
New Orleans expects that level of play from Amadi, who's entering his fifth NFL season and has started 12 of 50 games since entering the league as a fourth-round pick (No. 132 overall) by Seattle in 2019.
In stints with the Seahawks, Chiefs and Titans, Amadi totaled 13 passes defensed, an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, 131 tackles and six tackles for loss. He sees a good fit with the Saints' defense.
"I've always watched the safeties over the years," he said. "Tyrann Mathieu is my favorite player since high school, I always watched him. I've always noticed how (the Saints) bring everybody off the bench, especially on third downs.
"They need all their skill guys out there, for any route concept that comes out there. They use them to their strengths, (safeties Daniel) Sorensen or Marcus Maye, they use all these guys to their strengths, with experience as well."
Amadi said he will bring leadership, versatility and experience to the team, with the bonus of contributing on special teams.
"I don't ever want to limit myself to one thing," he said. "I've always been a Swiss Army knife, so they say."
New Orleans already has one Swiss Army knife on the roster, in tight end/quarterback/special team ace Taysom Hill. Hill wears No. 7, Amadi's favorite number, so he knows he won't have that one. And he won't have the number he most recently has worn, 32, because that one belongs to his idol, Mathieu.
"Whatever they throw at me I'm cool with it," he said, smiling. "Whatever they've got, I'll take."
Amadi now is a Saint, and is pleased with the decision.
"I feel like when you make a decision, you want to make a decision based off what's best for you," he said. "If you go to this place, what type of person is this going to make me? I feel like that's what came to my decision.
"There's other teams that wanted me, but I felt like what was best for me, give me the best opportunity to succeed and to contribute in a high fashion."
New Orleans Saints announced that they have signed with free agent safety Ugo Amadi on Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Check out Ugo in action with the Seattle Seahawks during his NFL career.