Huddle Up is a weekly Q&A with Cardinals players on a variety of off-field topics. In this week's installment, linebacker Alani Fua talks about being an NFL rookie who has a wife and two kids.
Question: You had two kids in college, but that probably wasn't that out of the realm at BYU, right?
Answer:Yeah, that was the main reason I went to BYU. I had a kid in high school. I'm Mormon, but I didn't want to go somewhere else and be the only one with a kid. I kind of did it for my wife so she'd be comfortable. At BYU, probably half the team has kids and is married.
Q: When was your second child born?
A: So I had the first one in high school and I had the second one two years later. I have two boys. One is five and the other is two, but he turns three in two weeks.
Q: When you came here, what was the reaction like from your teammates? Were they surprised you had kids already?
A: They were surprised, but once I told them I went to BYU, they're like, 'Oh, OK, that makes sense.' They thought I was like 27 years old. I'm actually pretty young for coming out of BYU. I'm only 23.
Q: When the rookies get here they put them up together. Were you in that situation or did you bring your family down?
A: I was just staying in the hotel with everyone. I was here by myself. Once we found out what was going to happen with making the team, I moved them down here. They were staying in California with our family.
Q: Was it hard to be out here alone? Did you miss your family?
A: Yeah, it was hard. All throughout college I had my wife and kids with me, so I kind of had a routine. I'd go to work and come home to the family. It was weird going back to the hotel and being by myself. It was definitely hard, but now that they're here I'm back in a rhythm and comfortable.
Q: You have these family obligations. Are you able to spend as much time with the guys?
A: It's hard. I don't get to go out with the guys as much as all the other rookies. But there are some guys who have taken me under their wing. Like Mike Iupati, my wife and his wife have become friends. They have kids that are similar ages as ours, so we've been hanging out with them a little more than the rookies.
Q: Was it challenging financially when you were in school with two kids and a wife?
A: Yeah, but it worked out. We had food stamps and we were living with my parents. We had a lot of help. If we were out there on our own without family, it would have been hard. Luckily we had a lot of support throughout the whole process which made things a little easier.
Q: Do your parents live in Provo?
A: We're from California, but having a kid and a wife so young, when we went to Utah they came out to help us. And we have a lot of family out there, too, so it worked out.
Q: What's it like for your kids at the games?
A: My older one is starting to kind of understand what's going on now. He has fun and he can find me out there. The little one, he doesn't know what's going on.
Q: There's a lot of focus on football, but what's it like being a dad right now?
A: Seeing my son and how much he looks up to me, he's really proud of me. He tells everyone, 'My dad plays for the Cardinals.' It's cool to be their role model and set a good example for them.