Sopoaga makes first impression a big one

Sopoaga makes first impression a big one
October 30, 2013, 2:45 pm
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Isaac Sopoaga has fit nicely on the defensive line for the Patriots.

(USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO -- Newly acquired defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga didn't have a lot of time in his first meeting with Patriots media, but he certainly made an impression.

The 6-2, 330-pounder climbed onto the low shelf inside his locker to give cameramen a better angle. His response to the first question lobbed up to his perch was more of a speech than an answer.

"First things first, I would like to say aloha, and also give thanks to our graciously heavenly Father for everything they have done for us individually, for our family. And also thank you to the New England Patriots.

"Today is my daughter's fourth birthday; I felt like yesterday was my birthday when I found out that New England called me up. Basically, I am enjoying it and I love it. Thank you."

New England just ducked under the trade deadline Tuesday with the deal, swapping a fifth round pick with Philadelphia for Sopoaga and a sixth-rounder. The 10-year NFL veteran was on the field for Patriots practice on Wednesday morning.

"Y'all know the meaning of the word 'hectic', right? When I found out yesterday I was with the Eagles and then [made] the drive to South New Jersey so I could pack my stuff and get ready. You know how that feels, doing the whole fast and furious thing on the highway even though it was a 50 mile-per-hour speed limit. But us Samoan people, we go double the speed limit," the native Hawaiian laughed.

Sopoaga was a fourth-round pick by San Francisco in 2004. He was signed by Philadelphia March 12, 2013. He's played in 133 NFL games and has 465 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.

New England made the call after losing starting nose tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo for the season. Though the injured Tommy Kelly (right knee) returned to practice today, it's unclear when he'll be ready for to play in a game.

Bad luck for some, good luck for Sopoaga.

"Patriots… it's like a dream come true, to be honest. I've respected these guys the last 10 years. They've won, three times, the Super Bowl."

The excitement was stamped clearly on his face; Sopoaga was practically giddy in the interview. But he also promised he's here to play.

"It was something I've got to live, something I've got to do, something I've got to face. And we've got to win."