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Green Bays Kwaku blends in well

Andrew Pekarek
Saturday April 19, 2008

The tattoo on the left bicep of Green Bay Blizzard defensive back Edward Kwaku tells his life story better than this article will. It represents what he’s been doing his entire life, adapting.

The tattoo is a picture of a chameleon, which is a lizard that changes the color of its skin to adapt to its surroundings.

Kwaku was born and grew up in Nigeria. He lived with his mother and loved to play soccer. His life would change as a teenager, however, when his mother died and he moved to the United States to live with his father and brothers in Florida.

That’s when he had to start adapting.

“I was a soccer fan, but I had brothers that played football.” Kwaku said. “They told me, ‘you’re in America now and you have to play football’. I thought it was a maniac sport, but I learned to love it.”

He also excelled at it and would get a scholarship at Florida A&M, but drew little interest from any professional leagues after his college career was over.

Blizzard head coach Bob Landsee saw him at an AFL team’s tryout in the spring of 2006 and offered him a chance to play, a chance to adapt to the arena game.

In Green Bay, Kwaku learned the game from Blizzard defensive backs coach Sammy Walker, who Kwaku said has become a mentor for him in the arena game.

The Blizzard made the ArenaCup in 2006, which was played in Puerto Rico, and Kwaku’s personal success got him a tryout with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

The experience with the Dolphins didn’t last long, but he was told to go to NFL Europa to fine-tune his skills, but after the season the NFL didn’t come calling.

Today, Kwaku is back with the Blizzard, but had to adjust to new teammates because he is the only player still remaining from the 2006 ArenaCup team.

“He fits into the scheme, so a chameleon is a good way to describe him because you know what chameleons are in football? Team players,” Landsee said. “He’s a classy individual...he’s on the top of the list around here.”

Besides acting like a chameleon, Kwaku also serves as the team’s comedian.

“He’s always barking at people and wisecracking with guys,” Landsee said. “But he knows when to do it, and when he gets between those boards he’s a totally different person.”

If you look for Kwaku on the arenafootball2’s statistical leaders you won’t find him at the top in defensive categories. He tends to blend into the middle.

It’s probably not because he isn’t as talented as the league leaders, but he would rather hit people than go for the ball. 

“He’s that guy that’s going to be the hammer instead of the nail,” Walker said. “Last game he knocked a guy out. He could have probably got the pick, but he wanted to nail that guy into the ground and that’s what happened.”

Looking back at his life so far, Kwaku can say he grew up in Africa and has played professional football in three different countries, but one of his favorite accomplishments involves being in a place he never thought he would be.

“I’m on Madden,” Kwaku said. “I’m in two video games as a matter of fact. I’m on Madden 08 with the Frankfurt Galaxy and I’m on the arena game with Green Bay. I never thought that would happen.”

Looking back at his accomplishments, Kwaku credits everything that has happened to him to his mother because without her he probably wouldn’t have been able to adapt to all the situations he has faced in his life.

It’s only fitting that on his right bicep is an image of his late mother, which is where he draws his strength to adapt.

Green Bay Blizzard (2-1) at South Georgia Wildcats (2-1)

Series: Green Bay leads 2-0, last game was in 2006 when Green Bay won 52-50.

Three Things to Watch

The quarterback situation in South Georgia
Cecil Lester has put up solid numbers, but struggled against Daytona Beach on Monday and was pulled in favor of Walter Washington who sparked the Wildcats to the win. Washington was released this past week and Andrico Hines was picked up. Hines started for the Spokane Shock last season and his main target was current Wildcat’s receiver Antwone Savage.

Can the Wildcats slow down the Blizzard’s pass rush?
The Wildcats have been banged up on the offensive line, most notably center Donald Usry, which bodes well for the Blizzard. Green Bay’s defensive line is probably the strength of the team and defensive end Joe Sykes is rapidly becoming a force in the af2.

Can the Blizzard slow down the Wildcat’s receivers?
The Wildcats probably have the best trio of receivers the Blizzard will face this year, along with the Quad City Steamwheeler’s. Savage, Buchie Ibeh and B.J. Perry will be the key to the Wildcat’s success on Saturday.

Andrew is a senior at UW-Green Bay and has written for the student newspaper. He began following arena football in 1998 as a fan of the Green Bay Bombers (IFL). Was a programming intern for Sports Radio 107.5 & 1400 The Fan and is currently pursuing a career in radio broadcasting.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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