Former Seahawk and Husky Tupou ‘Stays Home’ Once More with Seattle Seawolves
TUKWILA, WASHINGTON (January 27, 2022) – The Seattle Seawolves have signed former University of Washington and NFL defensive tackle, Taniela Tupou, as part of their front row through 2022. The crossover athlete joins Seattle after time with the American Raptors where he first tried his hand at the game. His signing with his hometown Major League Rugby (MLR) Club marks his third professional contract with a Seattle team.
“In the short time I’ve known Tani, he has impressed me greatly with his attitude, coach-ability, and progression,” said Seawolves director of rugby and head coach Allen Clarke. “He adds important quality to our prop depth chart. A Washington boy, who previously played football with the Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, and Arizona Cardinals before transitioning to rugby with the American Raptors – he knows what it takes to be a top-class sportsman. It’s truly exciting to see how good he can become as he further develops. We’re delighted to welcome Tani, his wife, Meg, son, TJ, and daughter, Mella, to the Seawolves family for the 2022 MLR season.”
Originally from Marysville, Washington Tupou played football for Archbishop Murphy before committing to the University of Washington. The defensive lineman played 33 games for the Huskies, made 59 tackles, and served as a game captain in 2015. He also was the recipient of the 108th annual Guy Flaherty Award, the Washington football program’s oldest award, in 2015 – awarded to UW’s most inspirational player by player vote. In May 2016, the Seattle Seahawks signed Tupou as a fullback / defensive tackle option after a successful showing at rookie minicamp. Although released by the Seahawks in September after contributing to the Hawks’ season opener victory, Tupou pivoted to The Spring League where he then got an invite to the Atlanta Falcons minicamp. An on-and-off member of their practice squad for the 2017 season, the Falcons waived Tupou in April 2018. The Arizona Cardinals picked up Tupou next for a short-term before playing for the Alliance of American Football’s San Diego Fleet until AAF ceased their operations. Returning to his home state, the XFL’s arrival presented another chance to put on a Seattle jersey as he was drafted to the Seattle Dragons in the seventh round. XFL was forced to cease their operations though in April 2020 due to the global pandemic.
Waiting for the next door to open, a new opportunity finally presented itself after years of moving around in football with the game of rugby. The American Raptors invited him to Glendale, Colorado to give the sport a go. Tupou caught on quick, becoming the Raptors team captain and earning valuable minutes in matches across the US. The Raptors toured to Uruguay in Fall 2021, giving Tupou a taste of international rugby competition and travel. The 6’2, 275 lb. prop will continue to build his rugby skills under the Seawolves coaching staff as he prepares to make his Major League Rugby debut in the coming weeks.
“I’ve played all over the country during my professional football career, and nothing compares to the fans in Northwest,” said Tupou. “The city of Seattle loves its sports! As a hometown kid, I’m really excited to stay home and represent the Pacific Northwest with the Seawolves.”
The Seawolves are set to face the Hartford Harpooners on January 28 as their final preseason match. Regular season play will begin February 6 as Seattle welcomes the Toronto Arrows to Starfire Stadium in Tukwila. 2022 half-season memberships, as well as group and single-match tickets, are on sale now and can be purchased here.
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