I don’t know if it was Omar Khan’s plan but the Pittsburgh Steelers are cornering the market of Hawaii-born players. In a singular offseason, the team has signed three players born on the island: OGs Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig and NT Bredien Fehoko. Seumalo and Fehoko are from Honoulu while Herbig hails from Lihue.
According to Pro Football’s Reference of native Hawaiians, there are only ten of them who played football in 2022. And one of them was Steelers’ NT Tyson Alualu, now a free agent and very likely entering retirement. Putting him aside, that means Pittsburgh has 33%, three of nine, active players from Hawaii. Other notable such players around the league include Miami Dolphins’ QB Tua Tagovailoa, Philadelphia Eagles’ QB Marcus Mariota, and two I wasn’t aware of in Indianapolis Colts’ DL DeForest Buckner and Washington Commanders’ LB Jamin Davis.
What does it all mean? Well, not much. You probably already know that. Talent matters, not geography. But for an offseason “stat of the weird,” it’s pretty weird.
What is notable are the personalities they bring. Granted, Seumalo is regarded as a quiet and reserved person but Herbig stole his opening press conference with his fun, laid back attitude. Definitely the Hawaii type. But evidently he’s a switch-flipper, turning into a nasty and physical run-game mauler when the ball is snapped. And Fehoko certainly embraces his culture with his Haka dance.
So could Pittsburgh add to their trio in the draft? Of course, there’s one obvious candidate. Wisconsin EDGE/LB Nick Herbig, Nate’s younger brother, also born in Hawaii. Steelers’ linebacker coach Aaron Curry attended Herbig’s Pro Day and Nate put out the call for Pittsburgh to draft him. No team loves drafting siblings than the Steelers and there’s a need for EDGE and inside linebacker depth, making Nick a real possibility.
Regardless, the Steelers are Hawaii’s team for 2023.