WHO Reagan Mauia, 22, American Samoa--born fullback drafted out of Hawaii by the Dolphins in the sixth round, then signed to a four-year contract.
YOU MIGHT KNOW HIM FROM ... a YouTube video in which Mauia runs helmetless through a weight room wall, then bellows, "I'm the Juggernaut b----...." (Just search for his name on YouTube to see it.) Says Mauia, "I was a little worried about hitting the beams on the side."
WHAT'S WITH HIS NAME? Mauia's mother, Tagi'ifo, named him after U.S. president Ronald Reagan. "Thank God she didn't name me Ronald," says Mauia, who likes the name he did get so much that he named his now nearly three-year-old son Reagan II.
HOW HE GOT TO HAWAII Mauia was playing at San Joaquin Delta College in California when he saw Polynesian Power, a film narrated by Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson about the ascent of Polynesians in football. "I saw the Hawaii team on there and Coach [June Jones], and I wanted to play for him," says Mauia, who then called Jones and asked if he could join the team as a walk-on.
June 17, 2007
INCREDIBLE SHRINKING BACK The 6-foot, 270-pound Mauia weighed as much as 380 pounds and was a noseguard at Hawaii until late in the 2005 season when on a lark a coach tried him in practice at fullback. "I went in and started destroying people," Mauia says. He used to eat five Jack In The Box chicken sandwiches in one sitting and ran a 5.1 40-yard dash. Now he runs a 4.8 40 and has a new favorite dish: Caesar salad, hold the dressing.
ENDURING ROOTS Mauia, one of four Polynesians who was at the Dolphins' rookie camp, mainly played rugby in American Samoa before moving to Oakland in 1995. When Samoan kids play football, he says, "everybody wants to be [Patriots linebacker] Junior Seau [who's also of American Samoan descent]. Even if you were the running back, you were Junior Seau." And if Mauia meets Seau on the field? "I'll do my job," he says, "but I might shake his hand after the game."
When Your Pitch Could Be Barry's ... 756
SCENARIO: YOU'RE facing Barry Bonds when he has 755 career homers. Second inning, bases empty. How do you pitch him?
TOM GLAVINE, Mets, 295 career wins
"Like it's the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh game of the World Series. I'm going to try to get him out, but I don't want to give up the home run that breaks the record. It's not like it would ruin my career, but I think it would be probably overshadow some other things I've accomplished."
CURT SCHILLING, Red Sox, 213 career wins
"You just don't want to be that guy in the highlight. So you do whatever you have to do to get him out. I've never pitched around him that I can remember. But you have got to make pitches. Winning the game is the absolute end goal. So, you pitch to him however it fits into what you're trying to do."
DAISUKE MATSUZAKA, Red Sox rookie
"I have no idea. The only place I've really seen him is in highlight reels." As for giving up the historic 756, says Dice-K, "As long as it doesn't cost the game, I am fine with being the pitcher who throws that pitch. I hope I face him during the interleague series."
JAMIE MOYER, Phillies, 221 career wins
"How do I pitch him? Just like the last hitter. It's just another at bat. I wouldn't be motivated [to avoid giving up 756]. All I'm concerned about is giving my team a chance to win. I've given up plenty of home runs before. Whether it's somebody's first, 300th, 500th or whatever, it's all part of the game. I've given up five to Barry."
JOE KENNEDY, A's, 41 career wins
"It would be enjoyable, because everyone will be watching. It would be exciting. I'd try not to let him get it, [but] if he does, your name will be remembered. It's not really a bad thing. You could win three or four Cy Youngs, [people] would probably remember the home run before they remember the Cy Youngs."