July 12, 2020

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For Fehoko Football Is In The DNA

I caught up with former LSU defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko, to see what he has been up to since graduation and that historic run for the National Championship Tigers. Fehoko tells me what it has been like training through a pandemic and how he has been keeping his body physically and mentally ready for the NFL.

“I’m back here at the gym I was working out at for pro-day, Built4It Athletics” said Fehoko. “It’s been awesome, training with some of the pro guys. Being back on a good program, training speed, strength, agility. Stretching, rehab, mobility, all that. I think being back here in Dallas, even though I’ll be heading out to L.A., was a smart move for me. It’s a good central part of America that I can travel back and forth to.”

The Tigers sent a whopping 16 players to the NFL combine in 2020, many of which did not participate in on field drills opting to perform for their pro-day. Most of the Tigers wanted to recover after having such a long season and bring attention to their teammates that did not get invited. Unfortunately, Fehoko was not one of the 16 invitees to the combine and because of the COVID-19 pandemic all pro-days were cancelled. “Honestly, the biggest thing for me was keeping things consistent with my thought process” said Fehoko. “In a time like that where things can get very out of proportion, and you never know what can happen next. It is so important to be consistent on your daily habits, your workouts, your schedule. What you’re doing every day how you’re working out. How you’re running, how you’re eating and to me, it was like ok I didn’t get an invite to Indy, cool. Let’s move onto the next thing, pro-day. Pro-day comes around, and there was no pro-day. But, you know what, it is what it is. The health of America is a lot more important than having a pro-day. I stuck with the plan, even though things weren’t going my way, I stuck to the plan. It worked at well. I am where I want to be.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fehoko had garnered interest from several clubs in the NFL. But, because of the lack of a pro-day that interest dried up quickly. “I pretty much talked to every single team” said Fehoko. “It was either an area scout, a coach, it didn’t matter who. I talked to somebody. Each one was like, ‘Hey man we can’t get out there right now, but we know things are going on, how’s your health, what are you weighing right now?’ just stuff to catch up. Some were Facetime like Tennessee, New York, and Atlanta as well. I turned out well, I still got to communicate with teams leading up to the draft. Which was awesome, and then as the draft came around, getting closer, and then during the draft I think it was Arizona that called first. They didn’t have any draft picks left, they wanted to draft me and all this COVID stuff made it tough. So they called my agent and they wanted to secure a spot for me as a priority free agent. I would have been reunited with Coach Kingsbury, I told my agent let me weigh my options and after that Green Bay called, and Green Bays’ biggest thing was, I was exactly the prospect they were looking to draft the toughest part was not having a physical and not being able to have a 32 visit. I was supposed to take a 32 visit to Green Bay and to the Chargers. The Chargers wanted to draft me too, that’s the way they do things there with Coach Lynn, and respectfully so. They like to have their players evaluated in person, physical wise, so they can look you up and down. So with the COVID stuff, not having a pro-day, and a combine it was tough. Players that were supposed to be drafted, teams didn’t have that extra information, from being in person that they would have if I had pro-day or if I went to the combine. But, multiple teams called and we got the best fit, and it was the Chargers. I have the best opportunity to get on the field. It wasn’t about money, it wasn’t about who was going to offer me the most. I talked about it with my agent, and I wanted to go somewhere where I can play this year, and L.A. was the best fit for that.

Breiden understands the role he will be taking on in Los Angeles, coming in playing nose guard is not something that is known for getting highlights on ESPN. Normally on the defensive line that is left for the defensive end, or in a 3-4 scheme the edge rushing outside linebacker. Similar to his former teammate K’Lavon Chaisson, now in Jacksonville. “Understanding the mentality of the position, you’re not going to be the flashiest guy on the field” said Fehoko. “I’m not a guy that takes no for answer. If you tell me I can’t beat a double team and make a play, if you tell me I can’t push the center into the quarterbacks lap and disrupt the play from a zero technique, I am going to prove you wrong. I feel I can do anything while I’m out there. I’m the type of guy to go into a game thinking I’m the most physical person on the field. It comes with the DNA that I have, it comes with the DNA of my last name, the DNA of playing LSU football. We were born and bred to play this game, I was born to play nose guard. So, that’s what I want to do, be the most physical guy on the football field. I think when you take away all the Xs and Os, and you take away all the fancy stuff, it all comes down to you versus another man, and imposing your will. And at the end of the day I want to be the guy that imposes my will the most.”

Playing for the Chargers has more meaning for Fehoko, the team that drafted Junior Seau with the fifth overall selection in the 1990 NFL draft was a personal friend of Vili Fehoko, Breiden’s father. A team that has a huge Polynesian fan base as well because of Seau. “It means a lot playing for the Chargers” said Fehoko “Junior was such a close family friend of ours, especially to my father. And there is a big Polynesian pipeline with the Los Angeles Chargers from Junior (Seau) to Manti (Te’o) to all the Polynesians that played in L.A. There is a big expectation there when you go there. They know what Polynesians are, they know what we bring to the table and so you can’t go in there and not live up to expectations. You have to go in there and exceed expectations. I don’t just represent my last name, I represent a long lineage of Polynesians that have come before me and that have worn the powder blue and yellow.”