Steelers Sign Former Chargers, LSU ‘Fan Favorite’: Report

Chargers nose tackle Breiden Fehoko

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Breiden Fehoko of the Los Angeles Chargers tackles Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans on December 18, 2022.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed former Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko, this according to a tweet from his agent, David Canter.

“LET’S GET TO WORK! @steelers Can’t wait to compete and play for such a historic Organization!” replied Fehoko via Twitter.

Fehoko also reacted to a childhood picture that his mom posted on Twitter, which shows him rocking a Troy Polamalu jersey.

Fehoko ‘Provided Quality Run-Stopping Snaps’ for the Chargers

On paper, the addition of Fehoko, 26, doesn’t look like much for Steelers fans to get excited about. After all, the Hawaii native appeared in just 19 regular-season games (with four starts) for the Chargers between 2020-22 and has been credited with only 36 tackles (15 solo). The majority of that production came in 2022, when he played a career high 279 snaps on defense and another 36 on special teams, according to Pro Football Reference.

Yet the former undrafted free agent — who started his college career at Texas Tech but finished at LSU — offers upside potential as a run defense specialist.

Breiden Fehoko “provided quality run-stopping snaps once he finally got a chance to play and actually helped turn the team’s run defense around,” noted Jason Reed of earlier this month, after the cap-strapped Chargers elected not to tender him as a restricted free agent, making Fehoko a UFA.

Moreover, Brian Baldinger of NFL Network highlighted Fehoko’s impact on his team’s run defense in a tweet from December 2022.

Fehoko also offers value as an emotional leader, and has been described as a “fan favorite” both at LSU and with the Chargers.

‘By the Time I Get Done Doing the Haka … I’m Hyped’

Most notably, with the help of his father and other members of his family, he often performed a ceremonial Māori war dance — the Haka — before LSU games, as was the case before a matchup against No. 2 ranked Georgia in 2018:

LSU's Breiden Fehoko and Dad Performing the Haka! | Viral on Twitter!Watch an LSU player perform the Haka dance with his dad before Georgia game! Twitter user Mark Clements shared this video and he wrote; Breiden Fehoko joined his dad in the Haka this time and it was even more awesome! LSU defensive end Breiden Fehoko joined his father for a special tradition ahead of the…2018-10-14T05:43:51Z

As you can see, both Breiden and his dad — who was Vili the Warrior at Hawaii football games and men’s volleyball games for more than a decade — have a gift for getting a crowd fired up.

“By the time I get done doing the Haka, figuratively speaking here, but I’m ready to kill somebody,” says Fehoko. “The Haka, to me, is a communication line between me and my ancestors. It channel(s) the inner spirit inside of me and (gives) me extra strength. And when I do it before I go and play, like all my teammates, they’re hyped, I’m hyped. It’s all the energy from the ancestors, passed down over time.”

No doubt Fehoko will be demonstrating the Haka to his new Steelers teammates, much like he introduced it to the Chargers when he was a rookie in 2020:

Meanwhile, Mike Tomlin & Co. are hoping that Fehoko can provide quality depth at defensive tackle, with unrestricted free agent Chris Wormley having suffered a torn ACL against the Ravens near the end of last season and fellow UFA Tyson Alualu likely headed for retirement after a very disappointing year in 2022. Fehoko can be expected to compete with Montravius Adams for a roster spot and playing time.

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