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Monday, August 07, 2006

Hall of Fame game: Big night for Tuiasosopo brothers

Came across this article reading the morning paper here in Seattle. Hopefully Marques Tuiasosopo can get more playing time this season and his brother Zach Tuiasosopo may have a chance to make the team after spending last season on the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad.


Monday, August 7, 2006 - 12:00 AM

TONY DEJAK / AP

Oakland Raiders quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo (8) is sacked by Philadelphia Eagles lineman Juqua Thomas in the fourth quarter of the Hall of Fame football game Sunday.



Hall of Fame game: Big night for Tuiasosopo brothers

By Danny O'Neil
Seattle Times staff reporter

CANTON, Ohio — It was the fourth quarter of the NFL's first exhibition game. The starters had long since departed, and half the crowd was gone.

Not exactly how the brothers had dreamed this situation would play out.

But there they were, playing in the shadow of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Marques Tuiasosopo was Oakland's third-string quarterback, with younger brother Zach a few steps behind him at fullback on one fourth-quarter play.

It was a family first, which is saying something considering the family. Marques and Zach, both former Washington Huskies, had never played in a football game together. Not until Sunday night.

"It was exciting knowing my brother was behind me as they were snapping the ball," said Marques, who is three years older.

It added a bit of sentiment to the Hall of Fame Game, which Oakland won 16-10 over the Philadelphia Eagles on a pair of Sebastian Janikowski field goals in the fourth quarter.

"Today was definitely a day to remember," Zach said.

It was a glimpse of the spirit that has given the family such a sterling reputation in Seattle. Marques is seemingly stuck with a franchise that has played him in only nine games. Yet the optimism that made fourth-quarter comebacks his signature at Washington still shines through.

"I'm really looking forward to having an opportunity," he said. "Sometimes it's out of your control. So I'm just focusing on going out and playing well. And someone will see it. Hopefully, it will be here."

Zach signed with Pittsburgh as an undrafted free agent in 2005, but didn't make the team. He worked a construction job last year.

"Definitely tougher than football," he said.

He played on Oakland's practice squad at the end of the year, and has returned.

The brothers missed each other by one year at Woodinville High School, Marques graduating in 1997 and Zach entering as a sophomore the following year. They overlapped at Washington, but Zach redshirted in 2000, the year Marques led the Huskies to the Rose Bowl.

Marques is in the sixth and final year of a contract with Oakland. It's a job that has paid him about $3 million, but in the first five years he thrown just 75 passes, completing 42 of them.

He completed 5 of 15 passes on Sunday for 63 yards. Four completions were on third down, but he was also intercepted. Oakland made three consecutive field goals to come back and win the game, but each came after Tuiasosopo had failed to convert an opportunity on third down.

Marques is playing behind starter Aaron Brooks, who completed as many passes to Eagles players as he did his teammates. He was 1 for 3 with an interception. Backup Andrew Walter was 3-for-10 passing, and 29 of his 46 yards came on a shovel pass.

The temptation is to cast it as a story of unfulfilled expectations. A tale of disappointment. But that would be wrong.

Zach got married this year. His wife is Tasha, and the fact that he ran across the locker room to make sure the reporter got her name right says everything about how important it is.

And while Marques' expectations aren't yet fulfilled, they're not failed yet, either.

"I feel ready for an opportunity," Marques said. "I've been doing this a long time. I'm ready to get this opportunity and go out there and play. ... Maybe it will be this year, maybe it won't."

On Sunday, he had to settle for his first chance to play in a game with his brother.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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