I’ve got a definite soft spot for football players with awesome names, and for my student brethren in the Political Science community. Former Rams’ tight end Brandon Manumaleuna is both. The Inglewood, California native went to Narbonne High School in Harbor City, where he lettered in three sports, and made all-state as a defensive lineman.
At the University of Arizona, Manumaleuna was converted to tight end, and the switch proved great for Brandon, who made second-team All-Pac 10 in 1999, his junior season. His college performance got him selected by the Rams in the fourth round of the ’01 Draft.
Manumaleuna played all 16 games of his rookie season, but caught just one pass, a one-yard touchdown in week 10 against the Buccanneers. He established himself as a dependable tight end with good hands, and while not known as a huge receiving threat, was a great blocker, often leading the way on the outside for Marshall Faulk.
His best receiving season was in 2003, when Manumaleuna caught 29 balls from Marc Bulger, totaling 238 yards and two touchdowns. In five seasons as a Ram, Brandon caught 66 passes and scored six touchdowns.
Manumaleuna later moved on to San Diego, where he continued being his dependable self for four seasons. Another reason Manumaleuna’s one of my favorites– the guy was the definition of durability. Dude was TOUGH–in 10 seasons as a pro, he missed exactly two games, playing one of the most physically demanding positions in the game. He ultimately ended his career as a Chicago Bear in 2010. He
Sure, the NFL moved on, the game is still great, but I’ll always remember one thing about the league in the last decade: The first rule of playing pro football between 2000 and 2010, is you CANNOT forget about Brandon Manumaleuna in the red zone!