During his brief off-season, New England Patriots tight end Michael Ho‘omanawanui made a stop to the 50th state and visited Marine Corps Base Hawaii Thursday afternoon.
The reigning Super Bowl champion, who has family in Waimanalo, Nanakuli and “everywhere in between,” played a game of wheelchair basketball with the Wounded Warriors.
Despite the obvious excitement apparent on the Marines’ faces to spend the day with a Super Bowl winner, Ho‘omanawanui explained that he was the benefactor of the experience.
“Being in the profession that I am in the NFL with the Patriots, the platform, we get to do this quite often,” Ho‘omanawanui said. “Getting the opportunity to spend time with the Wounded Warriors and the Marines on base, we look up to them. They’re the true heroes. They’re the true patriots of this country, so it’s pretty neat.”
Ho‘omanawanui grew up in Illinois, but he is Native Hawaiian and has already made two trips to Oahu to visit family since winning the Super Bowl back in February.
“(As a player) half of the year, you’re in a place away from home on the East Coast, away from Hawaii and our family,” he said.
Ho‘omanawanui says he and his wife, Cari, are enjoying the relaxation away from the brutal winters and grind of the NFL.
“It’s hard for the both of us but it’s work, it’s what we do it’s what we signed up for. It’s always nice to get home and spend some time,” he said.
The Patriots begin fall camp on July 30. They’ll open the 2015 NFL schedule hosting the Steelers on Sept. 10.