Just hours after the National Football League ended the lockout, a local football player’s dream came true.
On Monday morning, after the players voted to accept the owners’ offer, Cabrillo graduate Vai Taua received a call from the Buffalo Bills. In a whirlwind of phone calls, Taua accepted a contract to join the Bills.
Taua will fly out to Buffalo today where he will sign his contract. He will check into camp Thursday night and on Friday begin his NFL career.
“I’m very excited,” Taua said in a phone interview Monday evening. “I’m just ready to get a football in my hands and start playing again. It’s been too long.”
Taua was placed in limbo during the lockout after going undrafted in the NFL Draft.
“During the draft. one team called me and said they were looking to pick me in a later round, but I never heard from them again,” Taua explained. “The next time I heard from a team was this morning when the Bills called.
“I just got to Cabrillo for a workout and the phone rang. I didn’t know the number but I answered it.”
It was a call from a scouting executive from the club.
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“He asked if I was ready to play some football and I said ‘yes’,” Taua said.
Taua had a tremendous career at Cabrillo High. In his senior year he rushed for over 1,700 yards with 27 touchdowns. He was the Los Padres League Most Valuable Player.
At the University of Nevada-Reno, Taua played in 46 games and rushed for 4,512 years with 45 touchdowns. He was an All-Western Athletic Conference first team player three straight years. As a senior Taua rushed for 1610 yards with 19 touchdowns for a Wolfpack team that went 13-1, which included a thrilling 34-31 overtime win over Boise State on November 26, to earn a tie for first place.
Taua finished his collegiate career in his home state, playing in a 20-13 win over Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.
After agreeing to his contract Taua received a phone call from the offensive coordinator/running backs coach Curtis Modkins.
“He said they were looking forward to me coming,” Taua said. “I can’t wait to get there.”
Taua joins a club that is looking to add up to 25 new players on to this year’s roster. Last season under first year coach Chan Gailey, the Bills were 4-12 and finished fourth in the AFC East. Gailey has over 35 years of coaching experience. Before coming to Buffalo, he was head coach at Georgia Tech for six years (2002-07) and was head coach of the Dallas Cowboys for two years (1998 - 99). He was the offensive coordinator in 2008-09 with the Kansas City Chiefs.