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Kili Lefotu, good read!!!


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Lefotu wants second shot after 'scary' episode in '06

By Ryan Finley

Arizona Daily Star

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 04.26.2007

Kili Lefotu had to move to Germany to live the American dream.

During the day, the former UA standout competes against some of the world's best talent as the starting right guard for the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europa. At night, he and his teammates gather to play cards, watch DVDs and talk about advancing beyond the developmental league.

"Oh, and we go sightseeing every once in a while by train," Lefotu, 23, said by e-mail from Germany. "That's awesome as well."

A year after the Washington Redskins selected him in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL draft, Lefotu is finally playing.

And he is at peace.

He has survived a health scare, married his college sweetheart and has been cut, re-signed and allocated to Europe. He has worked for an auto dealership in Tucson and toured the German countryside, only to return to the sport he loves.

Where Lefotu plays is secondary to playing at all, he said.

"I think it's awesome playing competitive football again," he said. "I've been doing it for so long that it became natural, and it's good to be back doing something natural again."

Lefotu's pro career had a shocking start. Lefotu said he was stunned when the Redskins made him the only UA football player selected in last year's draft.

Lefotu called the draft-day surprise "perfect." It did not last.

Lefotu's burgeoning professional career took a hit midway through training camp, when he was found unconscious in his Ashburn, Va., hotel room.

Redskins management first feared he had left camp to visit his fiancee, Andrea Jaramillo, now his wife, who was about to be deployed to Kuwait as a senior airman in the Air Force.

Lefotu's agent, Mike Colucci, wasn't buying it.

"Of all the people I've worked with, he's not a walk-out-of-camp guy," Colucci said. "He wouldn't just leave."

At the urging of his agent and Andrea, team officials searched Lefotu's room.

There, they found the guard in his bed, breathing but clearly incapacitated. Lefotu was taken to a nearby hospital, where he underwent tests for two days.

Doctors still cannot pinpoint what caused Lefotu to lose consciousness. Doctors initially ruled out heatstroke and speculated that he may have had a seizure. Lefotu's agent believes the physical demands of camp and the sapping Virginia heat caused his body to shut down.

Andrea called the entire event "scary."

"I flew out to Virginia the night they found him unconscious," she said. "He couldn't talk to me. He couldn't open his eyes."

After the scare, Lefotu decided his wedding, originally scheduled for November, could not wait.

"At that moment, I knew I wanted to be her husband as soon as possible," Lefotu said.

They were married by a Virginia judge on Aug. 14, just days after Lefotu was released from the hospital.

Marriage has done little to calm their hectic lives.

Andrea was deployed in September, just as Lefotu was cut by the Redskins following an up-and-down training camp.

Lefotu spent most of the fall in Tucson, working at Jim Click Ford. He kept an eye on the UA football team — he was in the stands for the season-ending loss to Arizona State — and stayed in shape hoping another pro team would show interest.

In January, the Redskins gave him another chance. Lefotu signed a contract with the team and was assigned to Cologne. He will return to the United States in June following the 10-week season.

By then, Lefotu's life should have a new sense of order.

Andrea was discharged from the Air Force last week, and will be by her husband's side as he gives pro football another shot. Lefotu has been invited to the Redskins training camp. Even if Lefotu does not make the team, he could qualify for the practice squad.

Lefotu may enjoy Europe, but he is dreaming of bigger things.

"I chose the Redskins again because I feel like I have unfinished business there," he said.

"I know I can contribute to the team. I'll just have to prove it this time around, and hopefully I can stick around a little longer."

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Whatever happens, you certainly can't help but wish this guy the best. I would love to see him succeed.

Ditto to that and he is a great guy who had a scare and maybe that experience along with his playing this spring in Germany will make him that much more prepared to take the next challenge.

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