Faaeteete plays waiting game

Former North Medford, Oregon football standout hoping to land with NFL team
Defensive tackle David Faaeteete has been in a couple of NFL rookie camps already since the draft and hopes to hook up with a team when players are released this summer.Eric Evans

Like many college students nearing graduation, David Faaeteete's future is uncertain.

In less than two weeks, Faaeteete will receive his degree in political science from the University of Oregon.

And after tryouts with the NFL's Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders, Faaeteete, the former North Medford defensive lineman, will await word likely next month on the prospects of his football future.

"It's not nerve-racking," said Faaeteete, who saw action in at least seven games in all four years as a defensive tackle at Oregon. "If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, there's always next year and always another spot. Football is just one aspect of my life. If this is it, it's been fun. If not ... I'm very confident that it will be a bright future for me. I just have to play the waiting game."

Faaeteete was signed by Chicago as an undrafted free agent one day after the draft concluded but spent just two days at the Bears' rookie minicamp before the team released him.

"We were looking for something a little bit different," Bears coach Lovie Smith told the Chicago Tribune.

He was snatched by Oakland a week later and attended four days of the Raiders' rookie minicamp.

"My agent (Joe Palumbo) said they liked me, they just don't have any spots on the defensive line," said Faaeteete, now 6-foot-2 and 323 pounds. "They signed four rookies by the time I became available. I'm just waiting until July — that's when teams start letting guys go.

"I'm hoping for the best. I'm pretty sure, very hopefully, I'll get on a squad."

Should Faaeteete make an NFL practice squad, he would earn a minimum salary of $5,200 per week with the opportunity for playoff bonuses.

"Fresh out of college, that's a really good living," said Faaeteete, who would like to coach if he does not continue his football playing career.

For now, Faaeteete remains in Eugene finishing classes and continuing to train. He will participate in graduation ceremonies on June 14.

He had initially hoped to be drafted with "an outside shot of going in the seventh round," but those chances were diminished when he did not receive an invitation to the NFL Combine, a showcase for the nation's top players, on Feb. 20-26 in Indianapolis.

Instead, he participated in front of scouts at Oregon's Pro Day in March and performed well enough to garner "a lot of phone calls after that."

"I was upset," Faaeteete said of not being picked to attend the combine. "It was one of my goals this year to get invited. It just didn't work out. It hurt me a lot (in the draft), even though at Pro Day I had better numbers than half the guys that went."

He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.1 seconds and bench pressed 330 pounds.

In his senior season at Oregon, Faaeteete amassed 19 tackles and eight for losses, including two sacks, in 13 games. He had 27 total tackles in his three previous seasons.

Faaeteete was the state's defensive player of the year and had 100 tackles, including 101/2 quarterback sacks, as a senior at North Medford in 2003.

Reach reporter Luke Andrews at 776-4469, or e-mail landrews@mailtribune.com


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