By Gregg Bell
The Associated Press
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Lofa Tatupu’s father was born in American Samoa. The Seattle Seahawks star still has family members on the island. And he hasn’t heard how they fared through last week’s deadly tsunami that rolled across the U.S. territory as well as neighboring Samoa and Tonga.
He figures the least he can do is donate to the disaster relief efforts in the Pacific Rim region.
“Those are my people,” he said on Oct. 7.
Coach Jim Mora said his three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker is volunteering to match the first $10,000 that fans donate in a collection drive started by the Seahawks and Medical Teams International.
Tatupu didn’t want attention on his generosity, and he was surprised to learn that word got out.
Mora and the Seahawks blew his cover. The team released an advisory, which quoted Tatupu saying, “Every donation will help provide relief to those affected by the disaster.”
The Seahawks are inviting fans to donate on their team’s Web site.
Mosi Tatupu, a former NFL running back who played from 1978–91, was born in Pago Pago, American Samoa. Lofa was born in Wrentham, Mass., when his dad was with the New England Patriots.
Mora was struck by Tatupu’s generosity.
“There are bigger problems in the world than Matt Hasselbeck’s ribs or Patrick Kerney’s groin, or Leroy Hill’s groin, or Walter Jones’ knee,” the coach said while announcing Tatupu’s contribution. “So I’d encourage everyone to keep life in perspective. And that’s some perspective right there.”
A Seahawks spokeswoman said former University of Washington star quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, who became an assistant strength coach for the Huskies this season after the Oakland Raiders released him, will help collect donations at Qwest Field on Sunday. Tuiasosopo has a grandfather and extended family in the Samoan islands. They were safe following the tsunami. ♦