Friday, May 20, 2011
BBAO: Bears' Toeaina bonds with Paea
By Kevin Seifert
We're Black and Blue All Over:
Not long after the Chicago Bears drafted Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea, one of his new teammates reached out to him. Defensive tackle Matt Toeaina, who like Paea is of Polynesian descent, called to welcome him to the team.
Since then, the two have spawned a friendship that continued Thursday during a workout in the suburban Chicago area. Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com was there to cover it.
Paea: "It meant a lot getting that call. It showed he couldn't wait for me to get here because he's going to be my buddy now. We play the same position, we play for the same team, and we're both Polynesian. Getting his call, I really appreciated that, and it's going to create a great friendship."
Said Toeaina: "I reached out to him to congratulate him on the accomplishment of getting drafted in the NFL. I'm definitely excited to team up with him. In our Polynesian culture, it doesn't take much to get introduced, especially out here in the Midwest because there aren't too many of us. To see another Polynesian is like seeing family. You immediately gravitate to another Polynesian."
Toeaina was raised in American Samoa and Paea hails from the Tongan Islands.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Bears safety Chris Harris isn't a fan of players-only workouts this offseason, writes Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times. Harris: "Being the competitors we are, we're going to compete. You are in 7-on-7 or 1-on-1, and one bad move and you can hurt yourself. Teams don't have an obligation to keep you. They can let you go because you did that on your own. You're not protected doing these organized things. You could end up at a local emergency room paying out of your own pocket to get fixed up."
- Detroit Lions safety Louis Delmas said he tweaked his surgically repaired hamstring injury earlier this winter and is trying his best to take his recovery slow. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press has more.
- Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: "If Matthew Stafford throws the ball really well, and looks really strong, and sounds really confident, and no Lions coaches or fans are there to see it, did it happen? Oh, it happened, as the Lions conducted players-only workouts the past four days at Detroit Country Day. I almost feel guilty doing this to you, stoking your anticipation and slowing you down at the same time. Stafford is all healed up after right shoulder surgery with no place to go."
- Delmas is lobbying the Lions to sign free-agent veteran Dre Bly, who worked out with Lions players Thursday. James Schmehl of Mlive.com has more.
- Richard Ryman of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "The Green Bay Packers are considering moving the Packers Pro Shop and Curly's Pub to the east parking lot at Lambeau Field and moving the Packers Hall of Fame into the space vacated by the two businesses."
- Mike Vandermause of the Press-Gazette offers a rundown of a recent radio appearance Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers made.
- The site of the Minnesota Vikings' stadium proposal is "one of the most-polluted pieces of ground in Minnesota," according to Josephine Marcotty of the Star Tribune.
- Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards on his future athletic career, via 1500ESPN.com: "It all depends on what route is taking place. I've openly said I won't play for the Vikings, because of the simple fact of my backup is getting paid 70 more percent than I am -- there's no way I can do that to myself. I'd rather do what I love doing. I love doing football as well. But if there's nobody that's going to trade for me, I will be definitely focusing on boxing." Edwards will make his boxing debut Friday.
- Edwards could wind up fighting ex-UFC fighter Kimbo Slice, according to MMA Weekly Radio via Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.