American Football Database
American Football Database
Stephen Paea
Paea (left) in a game vs. Louisville in 2010
No. 92     Chicago Bears
Defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1988-05-11) May 11, 1988 (age 33)
Place of birth: Auckland, New Zealand
High School: Provo (UT) Timpview
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: 300 lb (136 kg)
Career information
College: Oregon State
NFL Draft: 2011 / Round: 2 / Pick: 53
Debuted in 2011 for the Chicago Bears
Career history
* Chicago Bears ( 2011–present)
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
* Consensus All-American (2010)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2013
Tackles     61
Quarterback sacks     6.0
Forced Fumbles     0

Stephen Paea (/ˈp.ə/ PY; born May 11, 1988) is an American football defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Oregon State University, and was recognized as an All-American. He was taken with the 53rd overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Bears.

Early years

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Paea grew up on Vavaʻu, Tonga, which was where he played rugby as a young boy. When he was 16, his family moved to the United States, originally to Lawrence, Kansas, where his cousin Chris Maumalanga was playing for the Kansas Jayhawks.[1] After a year, they moved to Provo, Utah, where Paea attended Timpview High School. Playing defensive line at only 240 pounds, he drew little attention by Division I schools, so he decided to enroll at nearby Snow College in Ephraim.

After redshirting his initial year at Snow, he added more than 20 pounds to his frame and started the 2007 season as the No. 2 tackle on the depth chart. Finally drawing the attention of major schools, he transferred to Oregon State in mid-season after graduating from Snow with an associate's degree in December 2007.[2]

College career

Paea attended Oregon State University, where he played for the Oregon State Beavers football team from 2008 to 2010. Making an immediate impact for the Beavers, Paea played in all 13 games, starting 12 of them, and recorded 41 tackles, 11 for a loss, and five quarterback sacks. He was selected to College Football News All-Sophomore Second Team and was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection.

As a junior, he registered a team-leading 8.5 tackles for loss and was co-leader for sacks with three. He was named All-Pacific-10 First Team and received the Morris Trophy for the best defensive lineman in the conference.

In February 2010, a YouTube video showed him bench-pressing 225 pounds 49 times.[3][4]

Paea was invited to the 2011 Senior Bowl, but tore the lateral meniscus in his right knee on the opening practice, causing him to miss the remainder of the event.[5]

Paea was a nominee for the Bill Hayward Athlete of the Year Award at the 2011 Oregon Sports Awards.

Professional career

2011 NFL Draft

At the NFL Combine, recorded 49 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press, the highest since Justin Ernest's 51 reps in 1999.[6][7]

Pre-draft measureables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 1 ¼ in 303 lb32 ⅞ in10 in 49 reps

Chicago Bears

Paea was taken with the 53rd overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears and on July 29, 2011, he signed a 4-year contract with the Chicago Bears.

In a Sunday Night Football game on October 16 against the Minnesota Vikings, as well as his NFL debut, Paea sacked Donovan McNabb in the end zone for a safety, being the first Bears player to record a safety in his debut since at least 1970.[8]

In 2012, Paea and Nick Roach were awarded the Brian Piccolo Award.[9]

After the 2012 NFL Draft, Paea was reunited with Oregon State teammate Brandon Hardin.

"If I had one word to describe him, it would be a beast. He’s just strong as hell. When he was our d-tackle and I was playing corner, it was good knowing he was in there rushing the quarterback."[10]
Brandon Hardin on Paea

During the preseason, Paea injured his left ankle during a workout[11] but started in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.[12]


  1. Stephen Paea: From Tonga to Oregon State[dead link]
  2. "Beavs land athletic tackle from Snow College". 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
  3. Stephen Paea Bench Press at YouTube
  4. "Beaver from Tonga learning on the fly". Arizona Daily Star. October 7, 2010.
  5. Mortensen, Chris (January 25, 2011). "Sources: DT Stephen Paea tears lateral meniscus in knee at Senior Bowl". ESPN.
  6. Saunders, Patrick (February 23, 2010). "Don't put too much stock in NFL combine". Denver Post.
  7. "Paea shatters combine bench-press mark". February 27, 2011.
  8. Hester's injury not considered serious. (2011-10-17). Retrieved on 2012-02-28.
  9. Biggs, Brad (2012-04-24). "Bears LB Roach wins Piccolo Award". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  10. "Rookie's father a big Walter Payton fan". 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
  11. "DT Stephen Paea hurts left ankle, latest Chicago Bears player hobbled - ESPN Chicago". 2012-08-12. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
  12. "Bears-Colts Inactives: Podlesh, Conte Will Play « CBS Chicago". Retrieved 2012-09-09.

External links