The end of the lockout will be a happy occasion for fans, NFL employees, and players everywhere. It may not mean more to anyone than Bears rookie defensive tackle Stephen Paea, who plans to reunite his entire family in one place when he gets his rookie contract.
Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com wrote a terrific profile of Paea and his family’s journey from Tonga.
Only seven years removed from stepping off a plane in San Francisco with virtually no English skills and four years removed from being a backup on a junior college team, Paea should get around $2 million guaranteed on his rookie contract.
With the money, he plans to retire his parents and unite his family in the Chicago area.
“I just envision my family in a nice house. Not just my family here now — my daughter and my wife — but my brothers, my siblings and my mom and dad,” Paea told Wright. “To be able to retire both my parents, get my sister from Tonga to here and all of these things, it’s gonna make me a happy a person. Then I’ll be able to perform even better on the field.
“When the off-field issues are taken care of, I’m a monster on the field.”