5 Fun Facts about New Cowboys DT Stephen Paea (New Zealand Native is Father of Triplets)
The Cowboys signed veteran defensive tackle Stephen Paea in free agency, and there are fun facts to learn about the new member of America’s Team…who was born in New Zealand!
And if you’re wondering, his last name is pronounced Pie-Yuh.
Paea was born in Auckland, New Zealand which makes him the first Kiwi to play for America’s Team. We’ve had players from Australia (punters Mat McBriar and Colin Ridgway), but not from New Zealand. He is a twin; his brother’s name is William.
David Richard via AP
Brynn Anderson via AP
Paea grew up in Tonga and played rugby. His dream was to play professional rugby in New Zealand for their most famous team, the All Blacks (the team’s name comes from the fact that their uniform colors are black). Paea talked to The Washington Post about rugby and said, “Football is physical, but rugby is more physical because you play offense and defense and there’s no pads. There’s more technique in rugby, especially when it comes to tackling and bringing a guy down. But the money’s good in football. You can make a living.”
Greg Trott via AP
He moved to the United States when he was 16 years old and his family settled in Kansas where his cousin, Chris Maumalanga, played at University of Kansas. STEPHEN DID NOT SPEAK ENGLISH WHEN HE MOVED TO THE U.S.! When he was 17, Paea and his family moved to Provo, Utah.
Paea now weighs 300 lbs, but in high school he weighed only 240, which is undersized for major college football. So he began his collegiate career at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah before transferring to Oregon State. After 3 seasons at Oregon State, he was drafted in the 2nd round by the Chicago Bears. He played 3 seasons in Chicago, the first two under current Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
In 2013, Stephen’s wife, Susannah, gave birth to triplets. They already had a two-year old daughter named Leimana. The triplets are two boys (Daniel, Stephen Jr) and one girl (Aulola). Aulola was named after Stephen’s grandmother who passed away the previous year.