Rey Maualuga

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Rey Maualuga
Rey Maualuga Bengals.jpg
Maualuga with the Bengals in 2011
No. 58     Cincinnati Bengals
Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1987-01-20) January 20, 1987 (age 27)
Place of birth: Fort Sill, Oklahoma
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 255 lb (116 kg)
Career information
High school: Eureka (CA)
College: Southern California
NFL Draft: 2009 / Round: 2 / Pick: 38
Debuted in 2009 for the Cincinnati Bengals
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2013
Tackles 423
Quarterback sacks 4.0
Forced fumbles 6
Interceptions 4
Stats at NFL.com

Rey Maualuga (born January 20, 1987) is an American football linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Southern California (USC), and was recognized as an All-American. The Cincinnati Bengals chose him in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

High school career[edit]

Maualuga attended St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, California where he played on a team with Lorenzo Booker. He moved to Eureka, California before his sophomore year where he played with future Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Maurice Purify. His team, the Eureka High School Loggers completed their perfect 13-0 season with a North Coast Section championship at the Redwood Bowl during his junior year. That year he posted 146 tackles, 43 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and 1 interception. In his senior year he had 96 tackles, 37 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions (2 for TDs), 2 fumble recoveries and 1 kickoff return for a touchdown. Eureka achieved an impressive 20-2-1 win-loss-tie record during his junior and senior seasons. Following his high school senior season, Maualuga played in the by-invitation 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

High school honors[edit]

College career[edit]

Maualuga has elaborate Polynesian warrior tattoos

Maualuga attended the University of Southern California, and played for coach Pete Carroll's USC Trojans football team from 2005 to 2008. He was known for his emotional intensity both on the field and off.[1][2][3] Carroll's Trojans had previously developed strong linebackers such as Lofa Tatupu and Keith Rivers, as well as Maualuga's fellow senior teammates Brian Cushing, Kaluka Maiava and Clay Matthews III, which were touted as one of the most talented linebacker corps in college football.[4][5][6][7]

As a freshman in 2005, Maualuga earned Freshman All-American first-team honors from the Football Writers Association of America and Scout.com; also he won USC's John McKay Award (most competitive spirit). Off the field his career started with occasional spirited and reckless partying that led to an October 2005 incident where he got into a fight at a Halloween party and was arrested for misdemeanor battery.[1] He agreed in an arraignment diversion program that included counseling, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and community service resulting in the charges being dismissed. Maualuga later noted that: "You learn that you're only given a certain number of chances. If you keep going back to the same things you were doing, it shows that you don't learn from anything."[2]

In 2006, Maualuga returned in full form and was nominated for the Butkus Award and second team All Pac-10. He made his first start in place of injured senior Oscar Lua against Nebraska.[3]

Maualuga was considered a top choice for the 2008 NFL Draft, but he decided to stay for his senior year in college.

At the end of the 2007 regular season, Maualuga was selected to the All-Pacific-10 Conference first team for the second year in a row by league coaches.[8] He was the defensive player-of-the-game in the 2008 Rose Bowl.[9]

Maualuga wears jersey number 58, which was previously worn by former Trojan linebacker and NFL Pro Bowl player Lofa Tatupu, who, like Maualuga, is also of Samoan descent. Mindful of his heritage, Maualuga displays many bold, warrior-like Polynesian tattoos on his arms and legs. Some NFL scouts have compared Maualuga to former Trojan and NFL linebacker Junior Seau and former Trojan and current Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, both of Samoan descent, for their sideline-to-sideline aggressive style of defense play, and Polamalu's shared preference for displaying long Polynesian warrior-style hair tucked under their football helmet.

In addition to being named the 2008 winner of the Chuck Bednarik Award, Maualuga was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American, receiving first-team honors from the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America, Sporting News, Walter Camp Football Foundation, CBS Sportsline.com, College Football News, ESPN and Rivals.com. Maualuga was also chosen to participate in the 2009 Senior Bowl with some of his other USC teammates.

Professional career[edit]

2009 NFL Draft[edit]

Maualuga was one of twelve graduating 2008 senior USC players, including the four senior linebackers (Cushing, Maiava, Matthews), invited to the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine.[10]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 1¾ in 249 lb 4.91 s 1.77 s 2.95 s 4.65 s 31 in 9 ft 6 in 23 reps 12
All values from NFL Combine, except 20-ss, Vert, and Broad which are from USC Pro Day.[11]

In the lead up to the 2009 NFL Draft, Maualuga was ranked as one of the top middle linebackers entering the draft, alongside Ohio State's James Laurinaitis.[12][13] USC linebackers Maualuga, Cushing and Matthews were all featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 2009 NFL Draft Preview magazine, as all three were regarded as potential first round selections.[14]

Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

Despite being projected as a first round pick, Maualuga was picked in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals. Maualuga was projected by some, and expecting, to go 16th overall to the San Diego Chargers, who instead opted to select hybrid linebacker/defensive end Larry English out of Northern Illinois. After being selected, Maualuga cried as he gave thanks to his late father and said he was thankful for his opportunity as "Nothing like this was ever expected for our family."[15] His selection came one year after the Bengals used a first-round pick to select Maualuga's college teammate, linebacker Keith Rivers.

On December 30, 2009, Maualuga was placed on injured reserve due to a broken ankle he suffered a week before. He finished his rookie season with 64 tackles, one sack, three forced fumbles and three pass deflections in 15 games started.

On November 16, 2012, Maualuga was fined $15,750 for unnecessary roughness against the New York Giants.[16]

Maualuga signed a new two-year, $6.5 million contract with the Bengals on March 18, 2013.[17][18]

Personal[edit]

After his father died, Maualuga began honoring him with a message on his eye blacks.

Maualuga was born at Reynolds Army Community Hospital in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to American Samoan parents, Talatonu and Tina Maualuga.[1] His father, Talatonu, was in Oklahoma serving with the United States Army. Within a few months the family moved to Waipahu, Hawaii, near Honolulu.[2] Financially, the family struggled in Hawaii.[1] While in sixth grade, Maualuga started playing football because he saw the popular kids played football and carried their pads and helmets to school.[2] Not only was Rey Maualuga passionate about football, he also had a love for attending church with his family. His family attended First Samoan Full Gospel Pentecostal Church in Waipahu and Moanalua where Rey was a member of the FSFGPC youth group. After sixth grade, his family moved to Oxnard, California as his father pursued Pentecostal ministry. He spent his first year of high school in nearby Ventura before moving up to Eureka in far Northern California where his father practiced ministry.[2]

During Maualuga's freshman year he wrote "RIP" on the eye black paint under his right eye and "DAD" under his left eye in honor of his dad who died two days before the BCS National Championship Game following the 2005 season.[19] His dad died after battling brain cancer, and from at least his junior season, black eye paint under both eyes read "DAD" in silver. He has two younger brothers.[1] Curiously, neither of his Samoan-American parents were tall.[20]

Maualuga was arrested on January 29, 2010, on charges of drunken driving and careless driving at the Kenton County jail in Covington, Kentucky.[21] That same day, the TMZ website published a photo purportedly showing Maulauga's arrest at the crash scene, and reported that Maualuga's blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was about double the legal limit.[22]

On February 2, 2010, Maualuga pled guilty to the drunken driving charge. He was given a 7-day suspended jail sentence, two years probation, drivers' license suspension for 90 days, and fined $350. He apologized for his actions when he made his plea.

Maualuga also played NFL player Popo Vanauta in the 2014 baseball film Million Dollar Arm.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Jeff McLane, USC's Rey Maualuga overcomes hunger, The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 31, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e David Leon Moore, Maualuga hoping to gain respect on and off the field, USA TODAY, August 12, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Gary Klein, "Emotional Maualuga Earns First Start," The Los Angeles Times (September 14, 2006). Retrieved February 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "Who is ‘Linebacker U?’". The Red Zone Report. 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  5. ^ "2009 NFL Draft: Rey Maualuga Leads USC Linebacker Trio into NFL Draft". Bleacher Report. 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Yahoo! Sports - Sports News, Scores, Rumors, Fantasy Games, and more". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  8. ^ Pac-10 Football Awards and All-Conference Team Announced, Pacific-10 Conference, December 3, 2007.
  9. ^ Chris Foster, USC's Maualuga caps a strong defensive effort, Los Angeles Times, January 2, 2008.
  10. ^ Ted Miller, Pac-10 NFL combine invitees, ESPN.com, February 2, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2009.
  11. ^ "Rey Maualuga". NFL Draft Scout.com. 2009-02-29. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  12. ^ USC's Rey Maualuga leads inside linebackers in draft, Chicago Tribune, April 21, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  13. ^ Kevin Acee, Among linebackers, Trojans' Maualuga at head of class, San Diego Union-Tribune, April 20, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  14. ^ Gary Klein, USC's Maualuga, Cushing and Matthews grace Sports Illustrated cover, LATimes.com, April 21, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  15. ^ Sean Quincey, Man of value: Draft falls reveals Maualuga's incredible stripes, Times-Standard, April 26, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  16. ^ "Fines roundup: Tim Dobbins of Texans fined for Jay Cutler hit". National Football League. 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  17. ^ Jesse Folk, "Bengals re-sign LB Rey Maualuga as unrestricted free agent," Kentucky Post (March 18, 2013). Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  18. ^ "Bengals re-sign Rey Maualuga," ESPN (March 18, 2013). Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  19. ^ "Maualuga hoping to gain respect on and off the field". USA Today. August 12, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  20. ^ Neil Tarpey, Impact and a purpose: Maualuga reflects, eyes NFL future, The Times-Standard, January 8, 2009. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
  21. ^ Sam Farmer, "Rey Maualuga charged with drunk driving," Los Angeles Times, January 29, 2010 [2]
  22. ^ "Rey Maulaluga -- The DUI Crash Scene". TMZ. Retrieved January 29, 2010. 

External links[edit]