News of the sudden death of former NFL standout Mosi Tatupu reverberated through the football world Wednesday, producing an outpouring of memories and tributes for the long-time New England Patriots fullback.
Seattle football fans know him mostly as Lofa's dad, a title that meant the world to a man who left his mark with most everyone he met.
Here are some of the touching tributes written in the wake of Mosi Tatupu's passing at age 54:
Albert Breer of the Boston Globe has an excellent piece that talks about Patriots owner Robert Kraft's fondness for his former fullback and also details the impact Tatupu had on young football players at Curry College in his recent years as a running backs coach.
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com tells the story of how Tatupu was drafted in the eighth round by the Patriots on something of a whim when the team's PR director suggested picking the Samoan running back from USC and coach Chuck Fairbanks said, "Sure, announce his name."
From humble beginnings began a career of greatness. But the beginnings really started in Hawaii, where Tatupu was recalled as truly a humble sort Wednesday despite his tremendous success in high school football.
Dave Reardon of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin writes about how Tatupu impacted one of his friends simply by the kind way he treated the youngster when Mosi was a star at Punahou High.
Ferd Lewis of the Honolulu Advertiser recalls that Tatupu was such a "man among boys" on the high school fields of Hawaii that some questioned whether he was older than he said, a challenge never proven by any of his doubters.
Lewis also tells the story of how Tatupu took over a high school game when his team was trailing 25-6 in the fourth quarter, carrying Punahou back to a 27-25 victory that was only another example of his dominance as one of the top backs in state history.
Ron Borges of the Boston Herald perhaps summed up Tatupu the best, noting he was the man every team -- or company, or family -- needs.
"When they write the history of the NFL, Mosi Tatupu won't even merit a footnote. When they write the history of the New England Patriots, the same may be true. He had no statistics to speak of, unless you count the bodies he left strewn around NFL stadiums when he was covering kicks and blocking linebackers while teammates got the glory.
"He was the kind of guy you find on every job site, factory or mill. The guy who shows up every day. Never late, never sick, never complaining. The guy you don't notice until he's gone."