Tuesday, March 13, 2012
At the Shock practice facility, there's no shortage of grit on the gridiron. Talented athletes come from all over the country to play for the Shock.
For offensive linemen Shannon Tevaga and Paulani Ma Sun, football is a game that builds fierce competition, "especially with our practices; our practices are rough," Tevaga said.
Tevaga, 6'-3" and 315 lbs., spent his rookie season with Spokane last year and helped anchor the Shock's offensive line. Tevaga was placed on the Injured Reserve list earlier in the season but, once he was healthy, he made an instant impact earning the starting position in all seven of the games he played.
Ma Su, 6'-5" and 320 lbs., appeared in 11 Shock games last year and recorded two receptions for 25 yards as a tight end on the offensive line.
For this pair, the game also builds character - in every sense of the word.
"We have a lot of characters amongst our players," Shock owner and CEO Brady Nelson explained. "They're all characters."
Ma Sun said, "We like to have fun on and off the field."
The pair met last year - Tevaga hails from California and Ma Sun from Hawaii - but sitting together after practice on afternoon they seem more like long-lost brothers, poking fun at each other the whole time.
"We joke a lot, we make it fun," Ma Sun continued. "We enjoy our time when we're out here."
"It's very exciting being with Paulani cause we're both Samoan, both Polynesian," Tevaga said.
It's a bond the they use to their advantage on the field. "It works to our advantage because we speak the same language, especially when we play other teams," Ma Sun said.
In addition to sharing the same position, culture, and language the players also share one other thing: the same apartment.
"At the beginning - because he got the master bedroom - I didn't think was fair cause I'm the master," Tevaga joked of their living situation.
To ease the players' transition to Spokane and focus on football, the Shock put up all of the players in fully furnished apartments in Liberty Lake, free of charge.
"I'm not going to lie, we're spoiled out here," Tevaga said, whose apartment comes with all new furniture and appliances including a new big screen TV. Nelson said the players also have new weight equipment in the gym this year.
Back on the field, there are a few things these players won't joke about including their love for the fans.
"The fans are good," Tevaga continued. "Every time we go around, they always give us love."
They are also serious when it comes to winning it all this season.
"That's why we came back - to win a championship."
SWX will air eight home games, including the regular season finale on Saturday, July 21, against Tampa Bay.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Falcons have reached a contract agreementwith free agent linebacker Lofa Tatupu.
Tatupu sat out all of last season while recovering from double knee surgeries. Atlantaworked him out Friday morning and struck the deal Saturday afternoon.
New Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan coached against Tatupu for several years in the NFC West, when Tatupu was Seattle’s middle linebacker and Nolan was San Francisco’s head coach.
The Falcons have a void at inside linebacker with Curtis Lofton appearing poised to test the free agent waters. Tatupu could end up competing for that spot with 2011 third-round pick Akeem Dent.