Chicago Bears star Stephen Paea will be visiting the East Palo Alto Junior Razorbacks Thursday to talk about football, rugby, and growing up.
The U12 team is coached by Joab Takapautolo, and Takapautolo was able to bring Paea in for the talk. Paea was born in New Zealand and grew up in Tonga, where he played rugby. He moved to Lawrence, Ks. When he was 16 and then Provo, Utah where he became a standout defensive lineman.
After earning an associate’s degree at Snow College, while playing football, he transferred to Oregon State and in 2011 was taken by the Chicago Bears in as the 53rd overall pick in the NFL Draft. He made his NFL debut in a Sunday Night Football game on October 16 against the Minnesota Vikings, and sacked Donovan McNabb in the end zone for a safety. He is the first Bears player to record a safety in his debut since at least 1970, possibly longer.
Paea is expected to discuss how he grew up playing rugby, and how he transitioned from rugby to football, and he will discuss education, good citizenship, and other topics with the kids.