A correction to a post earlier this week on Toniu Fonoti. Fonoti had agreed in principle to a one -year contract with the Oakland Raiders. However Fonoti changed course and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday.
Article from Bucs website:
|The signing of enormous guard Toniu Fonoti, a first-team all-pro as a Charger in 2004, could help the Bucs continue the offensive line improvement that began last year|
|Big Help Inside|
|Former Chargers G Toniu Fonoti was a Sports Illustrated first-team all-pro pick in 2004|
Mar 17, 2006 -
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first free agent signing from outside their own team in 2006 is a big one. A really big one.
Massive guard Toniu Fonoti, an unrestricted free agent who split the 2005 season between San Diego and Minnesota, is the newest Buccaneer. He visited with Buccaneers brass on Friday and had a deal done before the day was over. One of the largest players at the league at well over 350 pounds, Fonoti was a Sports Illustrated first-team all-pro selection in 2004.
As is team policy, details of Fonoti’s contract were not released.
| He came back from that bad break extremely well, starting all 16 games at left guard in 2004 and helping the Chargers post a 12-4 record. He started the first two games of 2005, too, but was then sidelined by a hand injury.|
Meanwhile, the Vikings were hit by a rash of injuries to their interior linemen, leading them to pursue a recovered Fonoti in trade. The Chargers and Vikings pulled off a swap just before the trade deadline and, after giving Fonoti four weeks to learn the system, the Vikings installed him at left guard against Green Bay on November 21. Unfortunately, though Minnesota’s revamped line provided strong run-blocking in that game, Fonoti suffered a groin injury and didn’t play the rest of the year.
Overall, Fonoti has played in 34 games and started 33, getting extensive playing time at both guard spots. He could battle for one or both spots with the Buccaneers this summer. The team started rookie Dan Buenning at left guard and third-year man Sean Mahan at right guard in every game last season and improved its rushing attack from 29th in the league in 2004 to 14th last year. At the moment, Mahan is a restricted free agent.
Fonoti’s signing comes one week into the league’s free agency period, which was delayed eight days from its originally-planned starting date of March 3 due to protracted CBA negotiations. The Bucs were busy on the first day of free agency, re-signing three of their own players who had become unrestricted free agents on March 11: fullback Mike Alstott, kicker Matt Bryant and defensive tackle Chris Hovan. Fonoti’s signing, however, is the Bucs’ first move since that day and the first one that involves a player from another team.
Despite his four seasons in the league, Fonoti is still only 24 years old. He was born in American Samoa and played high school football in both California and Hawaii. At Nebraska, he was a consensus first-team All-America selection at Nebraska.