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Looking for Lofa

Post by Dave Boling / The News Tribune on July 31, 2011 at 8:00 am with 7 Comments »
July 31, 2011 8:00 am

Too bad Hawks’ practice isn’t until this afternoon. Reports from last night that Lofa Tatupu had been asked to restructure his contract and that he had asked for his release were surely unsettling to many fans. Developments will shake out this morning and we’ll see ourselves at practice.

The move was hardly unforeseen, but the results might be, nonetheless, jolting. I have the impression that half the residents of western Washington are in possession of a Tatupu jersey. What was not to like, after all? Here was an undersized guy who became a true leader on this team the minute he stepped on the field. Seriously. Some Seahawks players talked about his presence and instincts showing from his very first day.

In the locker room, there was nobody more reluctant to talk about himself or more eager to talk about a teammate. One of the great stories from the year he was out with a torn pec muscle, was the way he came in to every meeting, and put in extra time in the film room, trying to help David Hawthorne learn the position. That, fans, is amazing dedication to the team.

A warrior in the athletic context? Goodness yes. The man always played hurt. And that became part of the problem, he rarely played when he wasn’t hurt. I remember the 2005 game against Carolina for the NFC title when he and DeShaun Foster (wasn’t it?) both were flattened on the turf by an enormous Tatupu hit. I think that hit affected Tatupu, and it seemed that the next year he started playing with more concern for his body. Last year, he would sit out most practices during the week, and come out and play in the game anyway, and generally play well. That was a testament to his grit and understanding of the game. He was not the same linebacker he had been, of course. At times, it was sad. I recall one time off the top of my head, when a back (Jonathan Stewart, perhaps) ran through one of his tackles. Tatupu gamely bounced up and pursued, and the back ran him over a second time on the same play. It was a little bit heartbreaking.

It still seems that the man’s leadership, heart and inspiration would be of value equivalent to his current salary, just as it would be with Lawyer Milloy. But that’s not how things work in the NFL.

We’ll soon know for certain if reports of Tatupu’s release are accurate. Hawthorne has done very well filling in for Tatupu at middle linebacker, but Tatupu’s impact on this team has always been bigger than that. To go into a season without the leadership of Matt Hasselbeck, Milloy and possibly now Tatupu is a daunting task. Some guys are going to have to step up in big ways.

Leave a comment Comments → 7
  1. seahawk44 says:

    I hope this is not true.

  2. chuck_easton says:

    Sand is reporting it as well. Dave another great writeup for a fan favorite.

    I’m sure you’ll understand if I say I hope I don’t have to read any more of your fantastic tribute pieces this season. The writing is fantastic and the sentiment is appreciated. The subject matter is enough to make me want to drink heavily and it’s only 9am here.

  3. Dukeshire says:

    Terrific write-up, Dave. I believe the hit you’re referring to was Nick Goings. It was one of the more violent head-to-head collisions I’ve ever seen. And I would agree in all honesty, that he didn’t play with quite the same abandon after that.

    There is on older guy in my neighborhood who played football at Eastern Washington back in the 60s and we often talk football when our paths cross walking our dogs in the morning. Anyway, he has an expression that goes, “… knocked the fear into him…” and I think this applies to Lofa and that hit. Not that he played scared afterward. Absolutely not. But some collisions are so violent and so jarring that it can make one consider their own mortality if even on a subconscious level. Self preservation is a powerful instinct.

    Lofa absolutely embodies the warrior mentality.

  4. Ewalters7354 says:

    Pete is not playing at all!They are simply doing with Ruskell didn’t,and that is get rid of players who are not playing up to the level of their contract.I bet Trufant is shaking like a 57 Chevy right now.

  5. SeahawkFan12 says:

    Great article, Dave.

    “To go into a season without the leadership of Matt Hasselbeck, Milloy and possibly now Tatupu is a daunting task. Some guys are going to have to step up in big ways.”

    Exactly.

    Bummer to read this, and I agree that Lofa has not been the same. He seems to drop a little year to year. It’s the leadership that we’ll miss the most, and perhaps these are just growing pains of a team in transition. Who knew the saying “getting younger sucks” would come to life! LOL…

  6. Mr Williams, will you please post Balmer’s photo in place of Lofa’s this time?

  7. Sounds like part of PC’s rebuilding plan is to suck this year so we will get a top notch QB in the 2012 draft. I expect he will be successful.

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