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Friday, October 02, 2009

Maiava, Maualuga to be on same field again

CLEVELAND --- Kaluka Maiava won't have to wait long to take the field with a fellow member of the University of Southern California's outstanding 2009 draft class of linebackers.

Maiava, a 2005 graduate of Baldwin High School, and the Cleveland Browns (0-3) will play at home against Rey Maualuga and the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) on Sunday.

Maualuga has 17 tackles this season, tied for third on the team, including one sack.

''I'm not surprised at all,'' Maiava said in a story on the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Web site. ''Everyone expected that from him. He's a strong player and definitely brings a good energy to his team.''

Maiava, meanwhile, has been playing on special teams, and has two tackles.

''Kaluka's a great linebacker in my eyes, an undersized linebacker, but has a lot of heart and determination to get things done,'' Maualuga said in a story on the Browns' site. ''He's a playmaker. Given the opportunity, he will make plays.''

Maualuga did not practice Wednesday because of a sprained left knee, but participated fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as probable on the injury report.

The Bengals' linebacking corps also includes another player who lined up alongside Maiava and Maualuga with the Trojans --- Keith Rivers, in his second NFL season. Rivers has 19 tackles, second on the team to Roy Williams.

In all, four USC linebackers were selected in this year's draft --- the other two in the first round. Brian Cushing went to the Houston Texans with the No. 15 pick, and Clay Matthews went 26th to the Green Bay Packers, whom the Browns will face in Cleveland on Oct. 25.

The Cincinnati roster has two other USC products --- quarterback Carson Palmer, a seventh-year professional, and defensive end Frostee Rucker, in his fourth season.

Maiava is the Browns' only player from Southern Cal.

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