Jerry Azumah

Jerry Azumah (/əˈzmə/ ə-ZOO-mə; 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.

Jerry Azumah
No. 23
Return specialist
Personal information
Born: (1977-09-01) September 1, 1977 (age 44)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:Saint Peter-Marian (MA)
College:New Hampshire
NFL Draft:1999 / Round: 5 / Pick: 147
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:352
Forced fumbles:6
Total return yards:2,901
Total touchdowns:4
Player stats at · PFR

Early yearsEdit

Azumah is the first-generation American son of Theophilus and Bertha Azumah, natives of Ghana. 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 yearsEdit

Azumah attended the University of New Hampshire where he was a four-year starter on offense for Chip Kelly. He was an All-American tailback. At the time, Azumah was the only player in Division I-AA history to have four seasons of 1000+ rushing yards.[2]

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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
5 ft 10 in
(1.78 m)
195 lb
(88 kg)
4.48 s 1.52 s 2.62 s 3.86 s 6.9 s 43.5 in
(1.10 m)
11 ft 0 in
(3.35 m)
15 reps
All from NFL Combine.[6]

NFL careerEdit

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 seasons 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.[7]

Azumah, who was a running back in college, continued to make the transition into an NFL defensive 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.[8]

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 return yards with 228.[9] He also recovered a fumble.

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.[10]

Post NFL careerEdit

Azumah has been seen on the Chicago Bears post game coverage and commentary on WFLD-TV, Fox Chicago and appeared weekly on Fox Chicago's Good Day Chicago.[11] 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.[12]

Philanthropic activityEdit

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.[13] At age 25, Azumah became the youngest UNH alumnus to give a gift over $100,000.

In 2004 Azumah started the Azumah Student Assistance Program (ASAP). ASAP is a charitable 501(c)(3) 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 in 2006, the philanthropic arm of the Chicago Bears. Bears Care was founded in 1989 and supports youth athletics, education, medical research and treatment programs for breast and ovarian cancer.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Azumah has two children (Santiago and Valentino) with his fiancée Bianca. The Azumah family currently resides in Chicago, IL.[16]


  1. ^ Collins, Jim (November 24, 2011). "Jim Moore leaves winning mark on Vikings". Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  2. ^ "UMass' Baylark 3rd I-AA rusher with 4 1,000-yard years". ESPN. October 29, 2006. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  3. ^ "Ball and Clark Named Urquhart Student-Athletes of the Year". New Hampshire Wildcats. January 14, 1998. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
  4. ^ "Jerry Azumah Breaks Another Record at the University of New Hampshire". New Hampshire Wildcats. March 2003. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013.
  5. ^ Morse, Dan (September 23, 2009). "Cat Trax: Worth the Weight". New Hampshire Wildcats. Archived from the original on January 8, 2010. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  6. ^ "1999 NFL Draft Scout RB Rankings". The Sports Xchange. September 21, 2006. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  7. ^ "Awards". Chicago Bears. Archived from the original on November 5, 2006. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  8. ^ Pucin, Diane (January 20, 2002). "Burden to Bear". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  9. ^ "AFC-NFC Pro Bowl records" (pdf). NFL. p. 5. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  10. ^ Pasquarelli, Len (March 24, 2006). "CB Azumah retires after seven seasons with Bears". ESPN. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  11. ^ "Bears' Azumah retires due to hip, neck pain". NFL. March 23, 2006. Archived from the original on April 5, 2006. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  12. ^ LaShawn, Jessica (May 16, 2011). "Jerry Azumah's ASAP Foundation Hosts Third Annual Signature Fundraiser". Chicago Now. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  13. ^ "Athletic Facilities: Jerry Azumah Performance Center". New Hampshire Wildcats. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  14. ^ "Azumah Student Assistance Program". ASAp Foundation. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  15. ^ "Bears Care". Chicago Bears. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  16. ^ "Life after football". Sea Coast Online. Retrieved February 13, 2021.

External linksEdit