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Bucs rookie looking for a home after living in car in college

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Now that he knows where he and his wife could be for a few years, Buccaneers defensive lineman Stevie Tu’ikolovatu has to find a place to live.

This time, they’re looking for one without wheels.

The seventh-round defensive tackle from Southern Cal has already shown a willingness to make something out of nothing, spending time between colleges living in a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban.

Not homeless, just a choice,” Tu’ikolovatu said, via Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Bay Times.

The big man (340 pounds) and his wife stayed in his SUV after he transferred from Utah to USC, spending two months bouncing from beach to beach, pulling the back seat out, piling up blankets and pillows, and hanging shower curtains over the windows to block out the light so they could sleep. They’d shower in public beach facilities, and his wife bragged about the way he made a grill out of pieces of wood and aluminum foil. He said he knew he could have stayed with friends in the area, but he didn’t want to trouble them.

“I don’t like to bother people, make a hassle,” Tu’ikolovatu said. “I’m kind of independent. I also understand that when you have struggles, there are also lessons. . . .

“It teaches you not to be selfish. It teaches you not to take life so seriously. It teaches you how to love.”

And at least if the football thing doesn’t work out for him, he won’t be frightened by the possibility of living in a van down by the river.

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36 Responses to “Bucs rookie looking for a home after living in car in college”
  1. reprob8 says: May 9, 2017 8:18 AM

    true humility

  2. happy1114 says: May 9, 2017 8:27 AM

    Refreshing to hear a young man with so much humility and wisdom,,,,Cheering for you!!

  3. elyasm says: May 9, 2017 8:31 AM

    I could see doing that in college, especially in SoCal and especially in a Suburban. Still, I’m sure he and his wife will appreciate living in a house that features indoor plumbing, electrical outlets and a foundation in place of a suspension.

  4. ipdaily69 says: May 9, 2017 8:39 AM

    Curious if the guy held a job during this transition period to afford to pay for an apartment or was it just easier to avoid responsibility by hiding in a car. Two adults…why are we applauding their choice instead of questioning it.

  5. jgedgar70 says: May 9, 2017 8:41 AM

    Very interesting story… living off the grid while going to college and playing football. I hope he makes the team.

  6. drcap says: May 9, 2017 8:48 AM

    Wow. A millennial who gets it. There is hope.

  7. belligerentbuc says: May 9, 2017 8:58 AM

    I hope he makes it to 53…what a feel good storyline to start the day!

    I would be honored to buy his jersey and root for the team on Sunday.

  8. redsea1111 says: May 9, 2017 9:07 AM

    Ummmm….. Spending two months bouncing from beach to beach is a lot different than “living in car in college.”

    I would have loved to have been able to afford a Suburban and to have done that while in school.

  9. mclennon99 says: May 9, 2017 9:08 AM

    No doubt this will be one guy who will give 110% every day! Good luck man!

  10. bassplucker says: May 9, 2017 9:08 AM

    Dude sounds like a free spirit, but still grounded. Not to mention, creative. Guys like that can sometimes turn into amazing leaders. All the best to him.

  11. clayton268921 says: May 9, 2017 9:11 AM

    His wife is one in a million to put up with that.

  12. dadsource says: May 9, 2017 9:27 AM

    On a steady diet of government cheese

  13. waynefontesismyfather says: May 9, 2017 9:44 AM

    Word on the street is Trubisky lived in an El Camino in Chapel Hill. Just flip up the tonneau cover in the morning and jump out.

  14. cribbage12 says: May 9, 2017 9:46 AM

    What a nice story to start the day. I wish this guy nothing but the best that life has to offer. What a great attitude.

  15. edon8334 says: May 9, 2017 9:51 AM

    ipdaily69 says:
    May 9, 2017 8:39 AM

    Curious if the guy held a job during this transition period to afford to pay for an apartment or was it just easier to avoid responsibility by hiding in a car. Two adults…why are we applauding their choice instead of questioning it.


    He was in school and playing football so idk about getting a job oldtimer but idk what the wife’s excuse is

  16. psj3809 says: May 9, 2017 9:56 AM

    I’m not a Bucs fan at all but love the story, really hope this guy makes it

  17. buchopeful says: May 9, 2017 10:01 AM

    Dude is grounded, he will definitely be responsible with his money if he makes it. Way to go bro, I hope others in the league will learn from you! #GoBucs

  18. donterrelli says: May 9, 2017 10:10 AM

    i lived in my car for a couple months after high school and was never praised for it…

  19. electricboogalo says: May 9, 2017 10:18 AM

    Everyone has their own path. I don’t care for the Bucs but will be cheering for him.

  20. jonwill57 says: May 9, 2017 10:56 AM

    He made a choice so he gets praised? I do like his attitude regarding inconveniencing others. I’m working on my son to live by that credo.

  21. honkeyt says: May 9, 2017 11:01 AM

    Being in that situation had to be tough because he is a big dude and probably took multiple late night dumps.


  22. granadafan says: May 9, 2017 11:07 AM

    His wife is definitely a keeper for putting up with that and making the best of it. Hope he makes it

  23. kd75 says: May 9, 2017 11:10 AM

    Blue Jays pitcher Daniel Norris lives in a VW Bus behind a WalMart in the offseason.

  24. whenwilliteverend says: May 9, 2017 11:16 AM

    It’s nice to hear about someone making the best of their situation instead of whining about EVERYTHING.

  25. noringcircus says: May 9, 2017 11:25 AM

    Motivational Speaker Matt Foley strikes again.

  26. bigcid10 says: May 9, 2017 11:37 AM

    some people will do anything to attract attention
    to themselves

  27. jsrdc says: May 9, 2017 11:39 AM

    “I also understand that when you have struggles, there are also lessons.”

    I love hearing stories like this. This kid knows what it is like to be humble, and I bet he will work his tail off to take care of himself and his family regardless of the circumstances. What a refreshing take he has on life.

    He should be congratulated on also getting drafted, and I bet he makes the Bucs team. He was, after all, the 2nd highest ranked interior lineman against the run (not to mention USC’s defensive player of the year, and defensive player of the Rose bowl). He won’t get you many sacks, but he can stop the run with the best of them.

    Best of luck to you and your wife Stevie, and congratulations on realizing your NFL dream and many more dreams to come.

  28. jsrdc says: May 9, 2017 11:48 AM

    @ ipdaily69

    “Curious if the guy held a job during this transition period to afford to pay for an apartment or was it just easier to avoid responsibility by hiding in a car.”

    Because you are the responsibility police, right? Doing what he did put him and his wife in harm’s way. Based on his background, it seems to me that his choices were informed, and not to simply avoid responsibility.

    “Two adults…why are we applauding their choice instead of questioning it”.

    It doesn’t sound like you are in the group “applauding” their choices whatsoever, but are definitely in the group “questioning” it. Well done with judging this kid using YOUR lens of how you think life should be lived. SMDH..

    You just can’t prevent trolls, regardless of how much positivity a story carries with it. And yet this kid prevails regardless. Positive always wins out in the end, bro.

  29. mogogo1 says: May 9, 2017 11:49 AM

    “why are we applauding their choice instead of questioning it.”

    Because it’s his choice to make and has zero impact on our lives whatsoever. A better question would be why does it bother you that he isn’t living his life exactly like you lead yours?

  30. carpalboss says: May 9, 2017 11:51 AM

    Guess it’s a good thing he didn’t transfer to the University of Minnesota.

  31. v2787 says: May 9, 2017 12:16 PM

    I like this kid. I hope he finds success. Sounds like he deserves it. I appreciate people who realize that life is all about learning lessons. Some never figure that out.

  32. thegreatgabbert says: May 9, 2017 12:19 PM

    A 2004 Chevy Suburban is bigger than my apartment, stop complaining.

  33. bordner says: May 9, 2017 12:21 PM

    If he doesn’t make the team, I heard Florida has some warm beaches, too.

  34. thegreatgabbert says: May 9, 2017 12:24 PM

    When you’re a buff 340 pounds you probably camp wherever you damn well please.

  35. dreemeagle says: May 9, 2017 1:15 PM

    this is a kid ANYBODY would want on their team, high school, college or pro;

    anyone who questions the maturity of his choice should see the more than balanced by his total lack of bombastic naivety so boring in the majority of draft choices;

    there not a man among us who wouldn’t be better with a wife the calibre of his staying quietly by his side;

    this kid may not make it onto an NFL roster, but i seriously doubt you’ll find him on a police blotter, either;

    he is clearly strong enough now to wait make his mark when HE is ready to;

    kind of reminds of a former Lions player who spoke equally elegantly of his wife and their long-term investment portfolio they ran from their home while he played;

    let’s see, healthy, strong, down-to-Earth, a bit idealistic but with a good wife to keep him grounded..there is a father out there who wouldn’t be proud and overjoyed of a son such as this?


    in this world?

    this father sure would be!

  36. coopsxx says: May 10, 2017 2:30 AM

    For those who comment about him working, the original article also states that he worked several security jobs to help them earn money.

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