Joe Tuipala granted THN an interview during the NFL Ė Europe season while playing for the Cologne Centurions and we caught up with Tuipala following practice again on Sunday to follow-up that interview:
TheHogs.net: How are things going at camp so far?
Joe Tuipala: Pretty good. Just trying to learn the defense and get familiar with the defensive scheme and get to know some of the guys around me. Thatís pretty much it for now. Just trying to get ready for this break and get back into training camp and hit it full speed.
THN: Do you think it helps that you are already on your football legs coming back from Europe or do you think itís tired you out a little bit?
JT: It helped me, because I was pretty much out the last two seasons so, I think I needed that season under my belt to kind of shake the rust off and get back out there and run around and get acclimated to the game instead of just watching it on television.
THN: Are getting in a lot of special teams work, or are you concentrating on the linebacker position?
JT: Iím focusing on everything: special teams, linebacker. Of course special teams has been what has kept me in the league. Thatís how I made it in Jacksonville and thatís always going to be big for me in anything, but at the same time if IĎm given an opportunity to play linebacker, Iím definitely going to pursue it one hundred percent. Iíll do my best in both phases.
THN: Are you practicing at all three linebacker positions?
JT: Right now Iím just trying to learn them all, just to be familiar and know where everybody is at, and what everybody is doing on defense. Iím getting to know the scheme a little bit better, so right now Iím just getting the basics and getting familiar with everybody, getting to know the coaches and getting up to speed so hopefully by training camp Iíll have a pretty good feel of everything and Iíll just be able to go out and make some plays.
THN: For someone who is trying to work his way on to a new team, what is it that keeps you motivated to get out here when you have two-a-days in 100-degree heat?
JT: I think itís just the love of the game. If you really love playing the game of football, you know there are going to be sacrifices that have to be made. Being in the league for a few years and then having to go to Europe, that wasnít an easy thing to do, but it was a sacrifice I needed to make as a player.
Our thanks to Joe for taking the time to talk to us at mini-camp, and we'll be watching his progress in training camp as well.
Editorís Note: Thanks to Moana Tuipala for pointing out an error in the original article. Joe Tuipala is of Samoan decent, not Hawaiian.
Scott Hurrey is a senior writer for theHogs.net. To contact Scott with questions or comments, please contact him at Scott.Hurrey@theHogs.net.