Today in Patriots History
April 26 Birthday Celebration Part Three: Mosi Tatupu
April 26 Birthday Celebration Part Three: Mosi Tatupu
April 26 is a mega-birthday date in New England Patriots history. On this date Pats legends Julius Adams, Steve Nelson and Mosi Tatupu were born.
Happy birthday to Mosi Tatupu, who would have been 66 today
Born April 26, 1955 in Pago Pago, American Samoa
Patriot RB/ST ace, 1978-1990; uniform #30
Pats 8th round (215th overall) selection of the 1978 draft, from USC
Died February 23, 2010 at the age of 54
The fan favorite had his best game in the historic Squish the Fish game. Tatupu memorably placed a bone jarring hit on a Miami kick returner, causing a fumble that led to a Patriot touchdown. Later in the second half Tatupu bulled his way in for a touchdown that essentially clinched the victory, which put the Patriots in their first ever Super Bowl. Sadly he died far too young, probably from CTE that came about from his selflessly reckless style of play.
The legacy of his inspired special teams play lives on. The Mosi Tatupu Award is now given annually to the College Football Special Teams Player of the Year by the Maui Quarterback Club and the Hula Bowl.
Although he was not a starter, Tatupu still ranks 16th in Patriot history with 2,415 rushing yards and 14th with 18 rushing touchdowns (Mosi was 8th and 6th respectively when he retired). Tatupu missed only 14 games in 13 years with the Patriots, with half of those coming after a 1982 injury. His 194 regular season games played to this day ranks fifth all time in franchise history, behind only Tom Brady, Bruce Armstrong, Julius Adams and Stephen Gostkowski.
Happy birthday to Rod Shoate, who would have been 68 today
Born April 26, 1953 in Spiro, Oklahoma
Patriot ROLB, 1975-1981; uniform #56
Pats 2nd round (41st overall) selection of the 1975 draft, from Oklahoma
Died October 4, 1999 at the age of 46
Rod Shoate played for Chuck Fairbanks at Oklahoma, and the two reunited in Foxboro. He was a good starter for four seasons but things badly unraveled after an injury that led to the end of his career - and then a fatal downward spiral.
Shoate played in 79 games with 64 starts over six seasons, all with the Patriots. He had five interceptions and seven fumble recoveries. Rod's one pick-six came in the third quarter of a 1980 game against Bert Jones and the Colts. His 47-yard return gave the Pats a 17-0 lead, and what had been a close game turned into a 47-21 rout. The Pats improved to 8-4, but the offense sputtered the next two games, and they ended up missing the playoffs by one game.
Rod Shoate's College Football Hall of Fame Election a blessing for his family
Rod Shoate (2013) - College Football Hall of Fame
Happy 31st birthday to Sealver Siliga
Born April 26, 1990 in West Jordan, Utah
Patriot DT, 2013-2015; uniform #71 ('13), #96
Signed as a free agent to the practice squad on October 23, 2013
Sealver Siliga was undrafted out of Utah in 2011, and appeared in one game over three seasons with the San Francisco, Denver and Seattle organizations. The Pats signed the defensive tackle to their practice squad in October of 2013, and he later started four games that year. In three seasons Sealver appeared in 25 regular season games for the Patriots, with 13 starts. He had 95 tackles (41 solo), 8 tackles for a loss, 6 QB hits, 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
Siliga also played in seven Patriot playoff games, including a start in Super Bowl 49. He later played briefly for the Seahawks (again), Jaguars and Buccaneers - where he once generously left a $1000 Christmas Eve tip at an Applebee's. Siliga is now a project manager for a travel app.
Happy 57th birthday to Tim Jordan
Born April 26, 1964 in Madison, Wisconsin
Patriot OLB, 1987-1989; uniform #93
Pats 4th round (107th overall) selection of the 1987 draft, from Wisconsin
Tim Jordan appeared in 30 games over three seasons in New England, with ten starts when Andre Tippett was injured. He had three sacks, an interception and three fumble recoveries. Jordan is now a project manager with JP Cullen, a Wisconsin construction management firm.
Happy 71st birthday to Bob McCall
Born April 26, 1950 in Sarasota, FL
Patriot RB, 1973; uniform #24
Claimed off waivers from the Bengals on September 6, 1973
McCall was a Cincinnati fifth round draft pick out of Arizona in '73, but never played in any games for the Bengals. His first NFL appearance came in week 7, and McCall went on to play in eight games with one start in Chuck Fairbanks first season as Pats HC. His stat line reads 10 carries, three receptions, two kickoff returns - and four fumbles - which may explain the brevity of his pro football career.
Happy 45th birthday to Jeff Paulk
Born April 26, 1976 in Phoenix
Patriot FB, 2000; uniform #46
Signed to the New England practice squad on December 7, 2000
A third round pick by Atlanta in 1999, Jeff Paulk barely had a cup of coffee in the NFL. He played in one game for the Falcons, and then the week 17 game of Bill Belichick's first season as head coach in Foxboro. Paulk is now a firefighter back in his native Arizona.
1996 Sun Devils Prove There Is Life Beyond Football
Happy 37th birthday to Thomas Clayton
Born April 26, 1984 in Alexandria, Virginia
Patriot RB, 2010; uniform #22
Clayton was signed and released three times by the Patriots in 2010, bouncing back and forth between the Pats and the Browns. His only appearance with New England was in the final game of the 2010 season when he had six carries in a 38-7 victory over Miami. From 2007 to 2012 Clayton spent time with San Francisco, New England, Cleveland (three times), Seattle and Arizona, but only appeared in a total of six NFL games.
Patriots.com press releases:
6/11/2010 - Patriots sign RB Thomas Clayton; Release Three
8/11/2010 - Patriots re-sign RB Thomas Clayton; Release G Darnell Stapleton
9/30/2010 - Patriots sign RB Thomas Clayton; Release OL Quinn Ojinnaka
Happy 36th birthday to Corey Hilliard
Born April 26, 1985 in New Orleans
Patriot OT, 2007 (offseason); uniform #63
Pats 6th round (209th overall) selection of the 2007 draft, from Oklahoma State
5/16/2007 - Meet the Rookies - OL Corey Hilliard | Patriots.com[/I]
"Every time I think about it," he paused before continuing, "It hasn't hit me yet. I could be blocking for [Tom Brady]…it's just so surreal."
If he wants to earn his living blocking for Brady, the self-described fun-loving Hilliard will have to improve significantly upon his performance in rookie mini camp this past weekend. Though noted for his size and strength, the 6-5, 308-pound lineman had trouble with his conditioning during his first professional practice.
That may have been an aberration, however. Hilliard's position coach at Oklahoma State, Joe Wickline, believes his former player has what it takes to play at this level.
"He's all business once the ball is snapped," Wickline professed. "He's physical, he understands the grind and loves the grind. Seriously, he'll light you up with the best of them."
Hilliard's next chance to prove himself will be in three weeks, when New England holds its full-squad mini camp the first week of June.
But coming back from adverse situations is nothing new to Hilliard. When Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans two years ago, it also wiped out the Hilliard family home.
Hilliard did not make the roster his rookie season, cut on September 1. From 2007-14 he appeared in 47 games with 12 starts for the Colts and Lions. Hilliard was also with the Browns at one point, then retired in 2015 six weeks after signing with the Jets.
Happy 73rd birthday to Phil Olsen
Born April 26, 1948 in Logan, Utah
Patriot DT, 1970
Pats 1st round (4th overall) selection of the 1970 draft, from Utah State
Never as good as older brother Merlin, Phil refused to play for the Patriots. In some ways I can't blame him, but who the hell was he to think that way? After the draft Olsen suffered a knee injury getting ready for the College All-Star Game; that resulted in his sitting out his entire rookie season due to the injury. Olsen's contract then became void because of a loophole in his contract regarding an option clause. He was picked up by the Rams, who gave the Patriots their first-round pick the following year and cash in exchange for Olsen.
April 26, 1972: Pats trade Fred Dryer to the Rams
Six months after the Phil Olsen debacle resulted in the fortunate gift of an early draft pick being sent to the Patriots, New England was once again forced into a corner and had to make another big name player trade that with the Rams.
Fred Dryer was the 13th player selected in the 1969, and a very productive player in his three seasons with the Giants. However he was often butting heads with management and made it known to them that he wanted to be signed to a big money contract extension. Why miserly Billy Sullivan would overlook that very important detail, and trade for Dryer in January of 1972 (for the princely sum of a first, sixth and '73 second draft pick no less) is a mystery.
Dryer had never signed his 1971 contract with the Giants and was therefore set to become a free agent in May. He refused to report to the Pats unless they signed him to a long-term contract making him the highest paid defensive lineman in pro football, which of course Sullivan refused to do. What Dryer really wanted all along was to play in Los Angeles, where the future star of the television series Hunter could begin his second career in Hollywood.
With the clock ticking the Pats were once again fortunate to get what they did from the Rams: this time a '73 first, and backup DE Rick Cash. The net result of the two Fred Dryer transactions was trading away a '72 first, '72 sixth and '73 second for a '73 first. What a bewildering mismanaged crap-fest.
April 26, 1991: The end of an era.
Patriots waive three players, including QB Steve Grogan and SS Rod McSwain.
April 26, 1993: The end of another era, as QB Hugh Millen is waived.
April 26, 2010: End of an error: Adalius Thomas is waived.
One other NFL player with New England roots born on this date:
Damik Scafe, 33
The DE is a native of Windsor, CT and went to Boston College; he was with the San Diego Chargers from 2011-14.
Scafe is now the Cannabis Cultivation Flower Manager at Ermont, Inc., in Quincy.