A defensive end, Anton Palepoi played five seasons in the NFL, finishing with 45 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble.
Palepoi said he attended almost every home game when his brother played for the Seahawks.
Now a defensive lineman for the San Diego Chargers, Palepoi will get an opportunity to play at his older brother’s former stomping grounds when the Chargers face the Seahawks on Friday in both team’s second preseason game.
But it won’t be Palepoi’s first time playing at CenturyLink Field. He played there as a junior for the University of Utah in a 35-14 loss to the University of Washington in 2012.
“It’s going to be fun going out there and taking the field out there, just because I remember when he was out there as a kid, and being able to watch him,” Palepoi said. “So it’s going to be a lot fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
An undrafted rookie free agent, Palepoi moved up the depth chart with injuries to Lawrence Guy and Damik Scafe, and has a chance to make San Diego’s final, 53-man roster. At 6-foot-1 and 300 pounds, Palepoi uses his hands well and has shown the ability to be disruptive at the line of scrimmage.
He finished with a combined four tackles against Dallas in San Diego’s exhibition opener. Palepoi also provides versatility, with the ability to play both defensive end and defensive tackle in defensive coordinator John Pagano’s 3-4 defensive scheme.
“I think that he’s flashed since the first day he’s been here,” San Diego coach Mike McCoy said. “He’s at times wreaked some havoc in there.
“The most important thing up front he’s learning is that he’s got to be technique sound every play. If you’re not technique sound, the offensive linemen are too good at this level that if you try to do it your own way and you play high, if you’re not playing the right technique up front on double-team blocks, you’re going to get blown off the ball. But he’s shown some flashes.”
Palepoi played alongside Carolina Panthers 2013 first-round selection Star Lotulelei in college. That experience, along with the steady tutoring by older brother Anton, helped accelerate the development of San Diego’s rookie defensive lineman.
“We were kind of in the same situation when I came into Utah,” said the 23-year-old Palepoi said about playing with Lotulelei. Like Lotulelei, Palepoi is married with two children. “We were both out of junior college. We were both married with families. It was nice to have someone who could take you under his wing and help you out.”
And on growing up with a former NFL player in his household, Palepoi had this to say:
“I was learning stuff in high school and in junior college that guys in the NFL were learning, just off of technique and the basic fundamentals of football. It was a big benefit, and it helped improve my game a lot.”