Levi's Stadium

WWE star Roman Reigns trains at 49ers facility for Wrestlemania

In recent years the 49ers have found players in unconventional areas. Lawrence Okoye was a rugby guy who was best known for hurling the discus in England. Jarryd Hayne was an Aussie rugby star. Neither of them had much (if any) American football experience, but due to physical skills that could translate well to certain positions, they’re now employed by the 49ers.

Leati Joseph Anoaʻi, otherwise known to WWE fans as Roman Reigns, is a 49ers fan who got the chance to do something a lot of 49ers supporters would love to try (the ones who work out, anyway).

(It’s WWE Day on BASG, apparently.)

Known as Joe in his football days, Anoa’i registered 29 tackles for loss, including 12 sacks, as a defensive tackle at Georgia Tech. That led to brief stints with the Vikings and Jaguars before he followed his father and uncle (the tag team duo known as the “Wild Samoans,” who were inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame) into the family business.

Since Roman Reigns is the No. 1 contender for the WWE Heavyweight Title and will battle Brock Lesnar for that belt at Wrestlemania (which could end up being the loudest event at Levi’s Stadium in 2015), the promise of a non-guaranteed minimum NFL salary probably wouldn’t be that enticing for Anoa’i at this point. But the 49ers have more than a couple reasons to make Reigns an offer.

  1. He’s already familiar with the facilities and loves the Niners.
  2. Jim Tomsula is known for getting the best out of defensive linemen.
  3. They cut Ray McDonald, Justin Smith may retire, and Darnell Dockett is coming off ACL surgery.
  4. As mentioned earlier, the 49ers seem to enjoy luring physical specimens away from other sports (or sports entertainment, in this case).

He’s too big to be a middle linebacker, so this probably has no chance of happening. But if Tomsula is serious about Okoye facing stiffer competition to make the team in his third NFL season, who knows?

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