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Hawaii NFL Legends Class of 2014

For the second year, Pro Bowl in Hawaii also means the unveiling of a new class of inductees into the Hawaii NFL Legends.

They are Rockne Freitas, Olin Kreutz, Rich Miano and Chris Naeole.


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Olin Kreutz | Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo

They join year-one inductees Wally Yonamine, Herman Wedemeyer, Charlie Ane, Jim Nicholson, Arnold Morgado Jr., Blane Gaison, Jesse Sapolu and Leo Goeas.

Congratulations to all. Here is a look at each man and his career.

Rockne Freitas

Team: Detroit Lions (1968-1977); Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1978)

Personal statistics: 11-year career, All-Pro for three years, Detroit Lions Offensive MVP in 1972.

Earliest football memory:

During my senior year at Kamehameha, we played Roosevelt and won by a nice margin. After the game, we (fellow boarders and players) walked into the dining hall to a resounding standing ovation. I remember feeling “chickenskin,” overwhelmed by the support of our classmates and realizing at that moment the important role of student-athletes.

Best moment of your NFL career: I have many good memories of playing in the NFL, but the best times of my NFL career were those years that I played under Chuck Knox and Joe Schmidt. These two extraordinary coaches played a significant role in my life on and off the field.

What was it like to make it to the NFL? It was a huge honor and challenge back then. It was great that I accomplished one of my goals, and I challenged myself every day to be the hardest working guy on the field for myself, my family and the people of Hawaii.

What are you doing now? I’m honored to be the chancellor at UH-West Oahu. The job has many satisfactions and challenges. To get the students a bachelor’s degree is a terrific, satisfying experience for me. People have diverse backgrounds, and to get the people working as a team is another great experience.

Olin Kreutz

Team: Chicago Bears (1998-2010); New Orleans Saints (2011)

Personal statistics: I played offensive line, but we don’t really have that many statistics.

Earliest football memory: Probably playing in Pop Warner Football. My dad (Henry Kreutz) was a coach and my mom (Lora Perry) was the president.

Best moment of your NFL career: We went to the NFC championships in 2006 and played against the New Orleans Saints. (The Bears were crowned 2006 NFC Champions after a 39-14 victory.)

What was it like to make it to the NFL? It was a dream come true. It was amazing. I don’t know how many more adjectives I could use. It was everything I thought it would be.

What are you doing now? Just hanging out with my family. I have five kids: Joshua (10), James (9), Grace (7), Hannah (4) and Abigail (2). I’m living in Chicago and spending time with them (and wife Wendi). It’s cold in Chicago, but this is where my kids have grown up, so this is what they know.

Rich Miano

Team: New York Jets (1985-1989); Philadelphia Eagles (1991-1994); Atlanta Falcons (1995)

Personal statistics: 617 tackles, 17 interceptions, one touchdown.

Earliest football memory: Winning the Prep Bowl State Championships at Kaiser in 1979.

Best moment of your NFL career: My two interceptions (with the Philadelphia Eagles) off Troy Aikman (of the Dallas Cowboys) in the first half (in 1991).

What was it like to make it to the NFL? It was the best feeling ever besides the birth of my two children, Kupaa (13) and Siena (5), students at MidPac.

What are you doing now? I am the head football coach and special education teacher at Kaiser High School, and president/CEO of Hawaii Speed Quickness. I also enjoy recreational stand-up paddling and hiking.

Chris Naeole

Team: New Orleans Saints (1997-2001); Jacksonville Jaguars (2002-2008)

Personal statistics: 142 games played, part of the NFC championship New Orleans Saints team in 2006.

Earliest football memory: Playing for the Kaaawa Rough Riders at Swanzy (Beach) Park.

Best moment of your NFL career: Beating the St. Louis Rams – it was the greatest show on turf in 2000 to win the first playoff game in Saints history.

What was it like to make it to the NFL? Pretty damn amazing. I celebrated with family and friends.

What are you doing now? I’m the offensive line coach at the University of Hawaii. It has been great working with the student-athletes.

Jesse Sapolu

Team: San Francisco 49ers (1983-1997)

Personal statistics: Eleventh-round draft pick in 1983.

Earliest football memory: My first flag football game as a fifth-grader. I scored four touchdowns.

Best moment of your NFL career: The best memory of my NFL career is following my four victories in the NFC Championship games. I didn’t sleep well because I was so excited about going to play in the biggest game (Super Bowl) in our sport.

What was it like to make it to the NFL? It was exciting knowing you made it to the top level in football.

What are you doing now? For the past 13 years, I have worked as an alumni coordinator for the only NFL team I played for, the San Francisco 49ers.

I am also an author and motivational speaker to corporate companies about the chemistry of building a championship team and motivate kids to never give up.