Survey says: Mawae's toughest matchup

July, 20, 2009
7/20/09
9:21
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Continuing with our "Survey says" series, it's time to share another home run. This one was hit by Titans center Kevin Mawae when I asked him about the toughest guy he had ever had to block in one game.

Here's what he told me:

 Mawae
 Seau

"Junior Seau, without a doubt. My fourth year in the league, Junior Seau, San Diego Chargers, Jack Murphy Stadium. Warren Moon was the quarterback. I couldn't put a hand on [Seau]. For whatever reason, I felt like I could not put a hand on him whenever I had to block him and I felt embarrassed and like I just had no business being on the field that day.

"In hindsight, after I watched the film, no, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was. But in my mind, during the game, I'm like, 'This guy is killing me.' That was Junior in his eighth or ninth year and I was in my fourth year.

"I played for Seattle; chances are we lost. I didn't have a conversation with him after the game. But I do remember, literally, it wasn't even halftime yet and I was sitting next to Warren on the bench and was apologizing to Warren Moon. I said, 'Dude, I'm so sorry. I'm going to play better.' That kind of thing.

"I broke down at halftime in the locker room and had a complete breakdown at the end of the game in the locker room. I was crying, seriously. Walked out of the locker room and my wife was standing out there, Howard Mudd was my offensive line coach, and he walks past my wife and Tracy is like, 'He didn't have a very good game, did he?' And Howard Mudd was like, 'No, he didn't.'

"But what you learn is, you never played as well as you think you did and you never played as bad as you think you did."

Mawae said he played better in other games when he had to block Seau.

My quick cross-check reveals that if Mawae is remembering the right game, it would have been on Nov. 11, 1997, which was Seau's seventh season. It sure sounded like he'd be surprised to be reminded the Seahawks won, 37-31.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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