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A Conversation With: OLB Tuli Tuipulotu 


Tuli Tuipulotu can't wait for Year 2 in the NFL. recently caught up with the 2023 second-round pick to get his thoughts on Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa's return and what he worked in improving this offseason.

Here's our 1-on-1 conversation with Tuipulotu:

Thanks for doing this, Tuli. How was your first full offseason?

"It was good. Long, very long. Like in my head, I didn't think I had that much time, but I really did have that much time. I don't know, I was all over the place this off season, figuring out how hard to go and when to go hard in workouts. Yeah, it's interesting. I was basically kind of experimenting because that was my first offseason. A real offseason, too, because in college you don't have an offseason."

Did you take any time at all to reflect on your rookie year and kind of where you were at?

"Reflecting, like, just seeing what I need to work on but not really like acknowledging the good or bad that I did. I was just kind of seeing what I needed to focus on in the offseason. After the season was done, I didn't really care what I did or what I didn't do. Just got to keep building."

What was your biggest takeaway from the 2023 season?

"Yeah, it was pretty tough. It kind of gave me flashbacks of my sophomore year at USC. We had a bad record like that and yeah, it's not a good thing, it's not a good feeling. You question a lot of stuff when you're losing even though you shouldn't. But sometimes it just happens just because you're losing so much. But I think we just keep building. I mean, we hit the rock bottom, so the only way is up now."


What did you learn about yourself last year?

"If we're talking about football wise, I'd say I need to work on pass rush moves and all that. But as a man or a person, I'd say I learned how to be resilient. I think although everything is going downhill, still being able to have a level head, still continuing on. A lot of stuff happened. A lot of people went down and record was pretty bad, so being able to stay level and just keep going."

I know you said you didn't reflect on the year but are you most proud of anything? You just like you came in and maybe proved to yourself that you could play?

"Yeah, I would say I say I was just proud that I showcased my potential. I'd say that."

Would you call it potential? Like do you feel like you haven't really scrapped the surface of where you're at?

"Yeah, I'd say I'd say that there's a lot more in the tank and the only way to prove that is just getting on the field and producing."

I know obviously you're proud of your heritage and your Tongan celebration. Did you hear from people either across the league or your family about how much they like that?

"Yeah, I mean a lot of people think it's cool. Some of the rookies this year came in and like, 'Hey, can I throw it up?' And I was like, 'Yeah, go ahead.' It's cool, I'm just trying to spread the culture and have fun with it while I'm doing it. My mom kind of say I got to cool down with it just because she thinks I'll be doing too much with it. That's just my mom, you know."

What did it mean to you to have both Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack come back? I'm sure youn were obviously pretty fired up about that?

"Yeah, for sure 100%. Great dudes to learn from. Great having them back. It would have sucked to only have one year with guys like that."


What did you learn the most from those two last year?

"Yeah, I'd say I learned a lot from Khalil about being a leader and a man. When the season was going down, Khalil did a good job of keeping people together. With Joey, I learned a lot of football stuff from him, just pass-rush stuff."

With them coming back, what do you expect your role to be in 2024?

"Whatever the team needs me to do, I'm going to do it. Shoot, those two will help us win games and I want to be a part of that. I have to help also and keep building."

What was your reaction when the Chargers hired Jim Harbaugh?

"I was excited. But I wasn't too excited because we still have to do what we need to do to win. I'm not saying this in a bad way, but because we have a new coach, the players still have to do their part, too, to win games. That's where I'm at."

What do you like about having Dylan Roney as your position coach?

"He's a funny dude. He really, really knows the defense well. Like, he knows what everybody doing and I feel like that's where I need to be. It would help a lot with the little things. But he's a great dude. It's kind of funny how him and Joey are the same age and Khalil is older than him. But he's doing a good job."

What was the mood like when the team got back together in April for the offseason program?

"I think a lot of people were nervous because we wanted to make a good first impression on the coaches — on Jim, on Herb [Ben Herbert], on our position coaches. Everyone was kind of nervous but everyone has settled in."

What's Ben Herbert like in the weight room?

"Very knowledgeable. He really goes into detail with all the workouts we do. He really believes in his program and that's really good because he was teaching us as we were going. I really like how passionate he is about his program and how he believes it in."

You said in a May press conference that you wanted to enhance your pass rush for this season. How did you go about doing that this offseason?

"[Watching] tape, for sure. This just working out and doing a lot of hand work and working on different angles and moves."

Are you a goal setter? What do you want to accomplish in 2024?

"Not really [laughs]. I'd say that I just want to contribute but a step above last year. I just want to keep helping the team and produce."

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