Kiwi Paul Lasike reflects on a regretful NFL career

  • 10/03/2018

Kiwi Paul Lasike has expressed regret over his two-year stint in the NFL, where he admits to living in constant fear of being dropped.

The former Chicago Bears fullback spent two seasons on the fringe of the roster, as he struggled to get game time in a position few teams have use for.

Lasike was finally waived by the franchise in May of 2017, only to return to his boyhood sport of rugby and become an instant success.

The midfielder was a surprise inclusion in the United States team for the Americas Championship, but made an immediate impact with a try on his debut against Chile.

Speaking to Brendan Telfer on RadioLIVE, Lasike was delighted to be playing rugby again, but did wish he had lived more in the moment during a short-lived NFL career.

"Every week they can make transactions, so every week they will release players, bring in players, or activate players from the practice squad," he said.

"Game day's on Sunday, so you're always conscious that anything can happen.

"That's probably the biggest regret I have in the NFL was not relaxing and enjoying the moment more.

"I was always worried. I have a family and I'm trying to provide for them, that's in the forefront of my mind.

"There were a few games where I did enjoy it and those were the games I excelled in where I was just able to not think about it and just have fun.

"It's a very stressful industry, and no matter who you talk to, whether it's an NFL veteran or someone's who's a rookie, behind closed doors there's always sacrifices you've got to make."

Listen to Brendan Telfer on RadioLIVE every Saturday.
Listen to Brendan Telfer on RadioLIVE every Saturday.

Lasike was promoted and relegated from the Bears roster numerous times during his stint in Chicago before finally being let go.

He admitted he wasn't surprised by the decision, and was actually almost relieved to finally be done with the sport.

"I came back for my third year and the head coach told they were looking at potentially moving away from using a fullback because not every team uses one," Lasike said.

"When it came to an end I was able to accept it knowing that I had given it everything I had.

 "I had done it. I had made it on the active roster; I had achieved that goal that I had set for me the year before.

"A lot of it was surprising. I didn't expect it to go this far but it was an awesome experience and an awesome opportunity for me to look back say, 'I played at the highest level.'"

Lasike could possibly make his first Rugby World Cup appearance in Japan next year and was confident he could continue making a seemingly simple transition from American football.

"I grew up playing rugby it's like second nature to me," he said.

"I actually never got used to playing, wearing pads and I played for four years.

"That was always actually my dream growing up as a kid in New Zealand, to play for the All Blacks."