All-Arena lineman Mike Ulufale signs with L.A. Avengers
LOS ANGELES -- Mike Ulufale, one of the Arena Football League's top two-way linemen, has signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Avengers, head coach Ed Hodgkiss announced today.
A free agent after spending three seasons with the San Jose SaberCats, Ulufale is well known in the AFL for his ability to rush the passer and make big plays. In 30 career AFL games, he has racked up 30 tackles (eight for losses), 18 pass breakups, 11 ½ sacks, four forced fumbles, two interceptions and one touchdown.
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Ulufale was selected to the All-Arena Second Team last season after leading San Jose with 4 ½ quarterbacks sacks and helping the team capture its first ArenaBowl world championship.
"In my opinion, Mike was the No. 1 free agent out there," said Hodgkiss, who led the Avengers to an 8-6 record and No. 5 seed in the AFL playoffs last season in his first year with the club. "Building the franchise is a process and with signings like this, we're on the right road. Mike will dramatically improve our pass rush and is a valuable player due to his versatility. He can play all the lineman positions on both sides of the football and in addition to all of that, he's a man of great character."
Ulufale earned AFL All-Rookie honors in 2000, when he had two interceptions, four sacks, six tackles and batted down 11 passes in 10 games for San Jose. In 2001, he finished with 11 stops and three sacks in just eight games.
Ironically, Ulufale was particularly successful against the Avengers. In four games versus Los Angeles, he has had six tackles, three sacks, three pass deflections and two forced fumbles.
The Dallas Cowboys selected Ulufale in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft (95th pick overall). After playing in three games, however, he had his rookie season wiped out due to a knee injury.
He played two seasons at Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) after transferring from San Bernardino (Calif.) Valley College, where he earned All-America honors on both offense and defense as a sophomore. After his senior season at BYU, Ulufale was selected to play in the Hula Bowl All-Star game in his hometown of Honolulu, Hawai'i.
Ulufale lettered in football, basketball and baseball at James Campbell High School (Ewa Beach, Hawai'i). He was named the MVP of the Saber football team and was a first-team West All-Star as a quarterback and linebacker.
Born on Feb. 1, 1972, Ulufale is the youngest of 14 children and has worked as a deputy with the Honolulu Sheriff's Department. He and his wife, Carrie, have four children, Maika, Jasmine, Kiana and Kawika.
Avenger season tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by calling 1-888-AVENGERS or online at www.laavengers.com. The 2003 season kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 2, at STAPLES Center versus the New Jersey Gladiators.
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