The jump from college football to the NFL can be a big transition.
Having a buddy along for the ride makes it easier, though, as Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah II has discovered.
Ahead of his junior – and final – season at Oklahoma, Asamoah got a French bulldog puppy and named him Chrome. The brindle-patterned pup has been by his side ever since.
"I lived in a big complex in college, and it had a huge dog park. I would always take Chrome there on Sundays, because that was my off day – that was fun," Asamoah said. "He'd be racing other dogs or trying to wrestle them. He ends up on top somehow, even though he's so small. … He shows his feistiness."
Chrome traveled with Asamoah to Mobile, Alabama, for the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl and to Arizona as he trained before the NFL Draft.
"He's traveling the [country] with me," Asamoah said. "We're just experiencing different things together along the way."
When the Vikings drafted the Sooner 66th overall in April, Chrome spent some time with Asamoah's sister while he got settled in Minnesota.
"My family loves to take care of him," Asamoah said, then added with a laugh: "I've never gotten any bad reviews."
Asamoah didn't grow up with dogs, but now he can't imagine it any other way.
"I would always go to my friend's house, and they had a Goldendoodle, which I just loved," Asamoah said. "I wanted something that … was kind of more 'fancy,' and I feel like a Frenchie was the thing for me.
"If I could make this decision a thousand times, I'd [do the same] a thousand times," he added. "I'm having a blast with him."
View photos of Vikings LB Brian Asamoah and his French bulldog, Chrome, in this edition of Purple Pups.
Asamoah describes Chrome as an affectionate pup who loves to play but also relishes a good nap – or several – during the day.
"He likes to show off his strength," said Asamoah, laughing as Chrome chomped on a white-and-yellow rope toy that at first glance looks much too big. "He always wants to fight with you when it comes to tug-of-war. I have to show him sometimes that I'm strong, too.
"He likes to play with the ball, too, to show his reaction skills," Asamoah added.
When the linebacker gets home from a long day at the Vikings practice facility, he's greeted enthusiastically by Chrome, who immediately will "ask" to play.
"He's a fun dog. … Sometimes when I'm having a bad day, I come home and just love him up. It brings excitement and joy," Asamoah said. "He likes to play, likes to have a lot of fun, likes to run around.
"[Dogs] know what makes you upset; they know what makes you happy," he added. "You want that around you."
Asked to compare Chrome to one of his Vikings teammates, Asamoah pointed to veteran safety Harrison Smith.
"Chrome is very chill, quiet, you know what I mean? But when it's time for action, he's all about that action," Asamoah said. "That kind of resembles Harry. When it's game time, you get a different Harry.
"Harry's calmly doing things in an elite fashion, and that's what [Chrome] does," Asamoah added. "He's very calm, he's chill, when it's time to get into some activities, he's ready."
Like any "dad," Asamoah takes pride in watching Chrome grow up and learn new things.
One of his favorite memories of Chrome as a puppy was the little dog learning how to go up and down the staircase for the first time.
"He was scared of the steps," Asamoah said. "So the first time he went up, it was a process … [And he] was scared to go down, because it was very steep, and the first time, he actually fell."
Chrome was uninjured but seemed even more wary of the undertaking.
"He came back upstairs, and I told him, 'Try it again.' He went down, just zoomed downstairs, and never looked back," Asamoah said. "At that moment you kind of just saw him grow up into the dog he is today. Having to learn from that mistake, repeating it, and then having fun and completing it and doing it faster.
"I've been having a blast with him, and I'm thinking about getting another one. But I'm gonna wait, because he'll be really jealous," Asamoah added with a laugh.