Celebration? Paea’s haka booms in media center

INDIANAPOLIS — Perhaps feeling good after breaking the NFL Scouting Combine’s bench-press record but most likely filming a television segment, Oregon State DT Stephen Paea woke up the sleepy media center Sunday afternoon by performing a Tongan haka.

As reporters shuffled out of Lucas Oil Stadium on the last day of player availability, they were greeted by the loud sounds of the haka — a traditional South Pacific dance that involves chanted words, vigorous movements and stamping of feet — coming from the floor above them. To football fans, it’s most recognizable as the dance performed by the University of Hawaii team before games.

Paea grew up in Tonga, so he knows the haka well. And to the reporters who were saying goodbye to another at the combine, it was quite an ‘Alu a.

— Justin Hathaway

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