The Seattle Seawolves signed the former University of Washington and NFL defensive tackle, Taniela Tupou, as part of their front-row through 2022. The 29-year-old prop is 6’2, and 275 lbs. The crossover athlete joins Seattle playing with the American Raptors.
Taniela is from Marysville, Washington, and played football for Archbishop Murphy before committing to the University of Washington. The defensive lineman played 33 games for the Huskies, made 59 tackles, and served as a game captain in 2015. He was the recipient of the 108th annual Guy Flaherty Award in 2015, the Washington football program’s oldest award, which was awarded to UW’s most inspirational player by a vote of the players.
In May 2016, the Seattle Seahawks signed Tupou as a fullback / defensive tackle option after a successful showing at rookie minicamp. He was released by the Seahawks in September after contributing to the Hawks’ season opener victory and focused on The Spring League getting an invitation to the Atlanta Falcons minicamp. He spent the 2017 season on-and-off member of their practice squad before the Falcons waived him in April 2018.
He signed a short-term contract with the Arizona Cardinals before playing for the Alliance of American Football’s San Diego Fleet until AAF ceased their operations. He returned to Washington State, and he was drafted by the XFL Seattle Dragons in the seventh round. The XFL then was forced to cease its operations n April 2020 due to the global pandemic.
The American Raptors invited him to Glendale, Colorado to pursue rugby. He learned quickly and became the Raptors team captain and played in the XV Series. He was also on the Raptors tour to Uruguay in Fall 2021. He will continue to build his rugby skills under the Seawolves coaching staff in preparation of making his Major League Rugby debut in the coming weeks.
Seattle Seawolves Comments
“In the short time I’ve known Tani, he has impressed me greatly with his attitude, coach-ability, and progression,” said Seawolves director of rugby and head coach Allen Clarke. “He adds important quality to our prop depth chart. A Washington boy, who previously played football with the Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, and Arizona Cardinals before transitioning to rugby with the American Raptors – he knows what it takes to be a top-class sportsman. It’s truly exciting to see how good he can become as he further develops. We’re delighted to welcome Tani, his wife, Meg, son, TJ, and daughter, Mella, to the Seawolves family for the 2022 MLR season.”
“I’ve played all over the country during my professional football career, and nothing compares to the fans in Northwest,” said Tupou. “The city of Seattle loves its sports! As a hometown kid, I’m really excited to stay home and represent the Pacific Northwest with the Seawolves.”