11 years after being drafted in the first round by Jacksonville, Hawaii’s Tyson Alualu is heading back to where it all began.
The defensive tackle agreed to terms on a two year contract with the Jaguars on Tuesday.
“Definitely excited and just blessed to be in this opportunity, have this opportunity to go back where it all started and play for the Jaguars, play for the city,” Alualu told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello. “But it’s a little bittersweet moment just because of what we built here in Pittsburgh with the team, with the city here so it’s a little bittersweet, sad to leave but excited for this next opportunity.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported the deal is worth $6 million.
The Saint Louis graduate spent the last four seasons with the Steelers, starting in 22 of his 62 appearances with Pittsburgh. The 33 year old recorded two sacks in 2020 and was a key member of a defensive line that guided the Steelers to an 11-0 start. That experience he hopes can serve as a pillar for the building foundation of the team that owns the top overall pick in April’s draft under first year head coach Urban Meyer.
“I think I bring veteran leadership, but I still think I got what it takes to play at a high level still and contribute and help that team win games. It’s a young team with some pieces in place through the draft and in free agency to make a splash, so just trying to be a piece that will make the Jaguars contenders in this league.”
Through 11 seasons, Alualu, who is currently the most veteran Hawaii born active player in the NFL has 24.5 sacks with 46 tackles for loss in 172 games.
In his first seven seasons in the NFL with the Jaguars, he recorded 17.5 sacks, 30 tackles for loss and 51 quarterback hits in 110 games as the club’s 10th overall pick in 2010.
“I think I’m a hundred times better than when I left the club. When I left it was time for me to go and I definitely feel like there’s a lot of unfinished business that I want to take care of. I know talking with the coaches there on what their plans are for how they will use me, I’m just trying to be the best version of myself. The off-season mindset is just grind, put my head down, work snd let the actions speak for themselves. I just want to be a piece that helps the team win.”
Alualu’s 172 career games played ranks fifth all-time for Hawaii born players, following Kurt Gouveia (183), Olin Kreutz (195), Kimo von Oelhoffen (198), and Dominic Raiola (219).