Thursday, September 6, 2012
Personable Hoomanawanui checks in
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The question was unusual to ask a professional football player, but in this case, it made sense.
"Could you say your last name?"
It didn't take long before new Patriots tight end Michael Hoomanawanui was asked that on Thursday afternoon; it was just the fourth question. Hoomanawanui obliged, saying it slowly for reporters to hear.
The personable Hoomanawanui has been down this road before, which showed in the light-hearted, fun way he handled Thursday's large group interview.
When asked if he had any nicknames, he shared two of note -- "Hoo-man" and "Uh-oh." In addition, his former coach in St. Louis, Steve Spagnuolo, simply called him "Illinois Mike" in reference to where he attended college.
Does the frequent reference to his last name ever get old?
"I'm used to it, just as long as you don't make the name derogatory," he explained. "It's a tough last name, not Smith or Johnson. I realize that and take it in stride, and try to have fun with guys.
"I've already had a bunch of guys who have had Polynesian teammates in the past -- you can tell if they come from a California school or a West Coast school, they got some practice already -- and it's pretty cool to have them come up and say it right the first time.
"I'll work with guys, and hopefully we'll be saying it enough that everyone will know."
Hoomanawanui said he's often asked the biggest mistakes when it comes to pronouncing his last name. He was quick with the answer.
"There are enough letters in it, 12 letters in it, so there is no reason to add letters," he answered. "That's usually what I find people doing. Tough last name."