Ambrose Wooden left Notre Dame after 2007 for a job in New York and a career outside of football. While he was in South Bend, though, he had a star-crossed career of sorts. Always affable, Wooden was the cornerback beaten by Dwayne Jarrett on the famous 4th-and-9 play during the 2005 Notre Dame-USC game. And he was constantly shuffled in-and-out of the Irish lineup his last two seasons as Notre Dame tried to play young talent at cornerback, including Darrin Walls and Terrail Lambert.
Yet Wooden kept smiling and while he's out of football, he's coming back one more time to play in the Japan Bowl.
Irish Insights: What have you been up to? Ambrose Wooden: "I started working in July and just enjoying New York, man. I didn't make it back this fall but definitely watched and they showed some flashes, man. They showed flashes."
II: Besides work, what else have you been up to in New York?
AW: "You know, I felt like most of my life I've been training, focusing on football, stuff like that but now I'm just working out, enjoying New York. My first couple months, I've kind of been a tourist. It's like night and day coming from South Bend to New York. I'm just working, enjoying New York City, great food, great parties."
II: At the end of the day, are you kind of glad you went that route?
AW: "It was kind of forced but when you look at your life, it's, you got to use certain things to do certain things for you. I was blessed with athletic ability and it got me to a place like this, met all these wonderful people and an interview that got me a great job. When it's all set and done, you know, when I look back, I came out here and felt better than any day. I didn't feel sore, felt great. But I definitely miss it. Being here, I got a little on the plane, I wondered if I was going to see the campus. Literally, it was as soon as I looked out the window I was like 'There's the Dome' and got a chill up my spine because I almost hadn't been here for a year. It was just, it was great, man, great to be here and see all the developments of the campus."
II: Did you want to play in this Japan Bowl thing?
AW: "I wanted to play because I never really got a chance to do the NFL thing because I got hurt, so, like, why not. When Coach (Bill) Lewis called me, I was like 'You know what, I was like whatever you need, I'll come out, run around' and (last Saturday) I felt great. Whatever they need me to do, play on the field, get people water, I'm in."
II: When you're in New York, how much of a change has it been?
AW: "Oh man, it's been awesome. I work, literally as far as hours, I work my (butt) off, man. You work so, so hard but with that, you play hard, too. It was a big adjustment."
II: So what's your favorite part of New York?
AW: "The restaurants, man. The social scene. You know that. And it's great because for me it's a combination of all my worlds come together. A lot of people from my high school there (Eds. note, Wooden went to the Gilman School in Maryland), Baltimore people and then you got a Notre Dame crew and you meet people and people know. You develop this vast network of friends...
Brandon Hoyte interrupting: "Just so you know, this guy, not only Mr. Wall Street, he's Mr. Football. Keep an eye on him. He has my vote."
AW (confused): "Well, but, yeah, the food. It's amazing. But, you know, it's New York. You got to love it."