Thursday, June 3, 2010

Polamalu Paving The Way For Samoans

After years of nothing but terrorizing the Cleveland Browns, Troy Polamalu is inadvertently helping to change the landscape of the Cleveland Browns. Known for his hard-hitting plays and physical toughness, Browns' management has been recently scouting and looking to the Pacific Islands recently in a quest to find players of his same caliber.

In the 2009 NFL Draft, Rey Maualuga of Samoan descent, was high on the list of the Cleveland Browns fans in the days preceding the event. Instead passing on Rey Maualuga, who later went to the Cincinnatti Bengals, and selecting David Veikune 52nd overall out of Hawaii, before then picking up Kaluka Maiava 104th out of USC.

Is it sheer coincidence? Or is there something in the water surrounding those islands?

"Polynesians, they're pretty strong, very powerful, physical people," said Veikune. "The NFL is a very physical game, so I think they put two and two together and started recruiting over there."

"We're just people trying to play football and have a job," Maiava said modestly. "I don't know if we're the chosen few or anything. We're just trying to make a living."

This year was no different in Cleveland, as the Browns picked up another Samoan player with a high motor in Shawn Lauvao. An offensive tackle out of Arizona State, that head coach Eric Mangini praises as a player that never stops working, hitting his man and then 'cleaning out the pocket' until the whistle blows.

Lauvao's attitude is one that has been sorely missed in Cleveland for years, “I like to knock heads, if I don’t have anything to do, I’m going to go see if I can smash somebody else."

Fast-forward to today, the Cleveland Browns announced the signing of undrafted free agent Martin Tevaseu, a Samoan nose tackle out of UNLV. In attendance at his Pro Day, Cleveland scouts undoubtedly walked away impressed by his performance, but Tevaseu went overlooked on draft day.

Tevaseu shed weight from an over-sized 420 pound frame, to an absolutely dominating 335 pound monster. Coming from a smaller school like UNLV, Tevaseu had to work harder to even be noticed, much like 2009 Browns' Eric Wright and Beau Bell.

Tevaseu's impressive 2009 season where he overpowered double-teams all year, earned him a spot in the East-West Shrine Game where he was coached by NFL legend Marty Schottenheimer. It's reported that the blown away coach ran up to Tevaseu in the parking lot afterwards, introduced himself, and then said the words, “I want to tell you, son, you are doing a hell of a job. A hell of a job."

It remains to be seen if Tevaseu makes the opening day roster, but with current nose tackle Shaun Rogers facing a gun possession charge, it seems his chances are that much better.

Martin Tevasau highlights:

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