Ah, the good old days of getting completely hammered and bouncing a vehicle off of several other vehicles in the middle of the night. Wait, you never had that experience?
Well, Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu certainly did in the fall of 2012. The team’s fourth round pick allegedly evaded police while crashing his vehicle into several other cars and nearly running over an officer with his gun drawn. It may sound like an episode of Cops, but it was real life in this case.
The team released Ta’amu following the incident but later re-signed him to the practice squad. That decision will likely keep the NFL from taking disciplinary action against the nose tackle, but clearly he’s lucky not to be going to prison, or not to be dead for that matter.
According to the Associated Press he’s shown contrition since the incident saying: “I know what I’ve done is wrong. I’d do anything to make it right. What I did affected my whole family. I’ve got to keep learning from my mistakes. So far, I think I’ve done a good job of staying away (from alcohol).”
So Ta’amu has learned from his wrongs away from the field, but the Steelers are more concerned about what he can contribute on it. The team has turned the page on longtime nose tackle Casey Hampton who struggled with weight issues and staying on the field over the past two seasons. Steve McLendon is listed as the current starter, but Ta’amu figures to see some serious snaps and consideration throughout training camp and the preseason at the position.
Ta’amu is an extremely powerful player with loads of potential in a 3-4 defense as a nose tackle. At 6’3” 348lbs. he has the size to demand two blockers at all times and his strength as shown from last year’s NFL Scouting Combine where he put up 35 reps is more than adequate.
If he can keep himself on the right path, Ta’amu has a chance to get some serious playing time during the 2013 season. He isn’t going to make many plays in space, but he won’t be asked to with Pittsburgh. Understanding his role and occupying blockers will be the main focus for this young guy in order to show Mike Tomlin and the rest of the coaching staff that he deserves a chance to see the field on a regular basis.