WASHINGTON D.C. – Eugene Amano, 27, is the first full-blooded Filipino player in the US National Football League. He plays as offensive lineman of the Tennessee â€œTitans.â€
Eugene, who was born in Manila on Aug. 1, 1982, is 6 feet and 3 inches tall, weighs 310 pounds and sports Titansâ€™ Number 54 shirt. He was paid $1,006,120 last year and reports are that this has been increased to $1,305,640.
He is the son of Eugene Aman, Sr. of the US Navy and mother, Aida, who was a nurse in Manila where he was born. He and his mother moved to San Diego when he was only two months old. His younger brother Fred is also a defensive tackle and plays football as a varsity player in San Diego State and his older sister Allison is currently studying in a San Diego nursing school.
He had a football scholarship at Southeast Missouri State and graduated with a degree in criminal justice in 2006. He hopes to become a federal agent or join the FBI when his football career is over.
Eugene loves Pinoy foods and his all time sports hero is David Robinson. In his 4th year with the Titans, Eugene has seen the NFL team develop into a 5-11 doormat in 2004 to a playoff contender last season.
The only other Filipino who played in the NFL is US-born Roman Ildefonzo Gabriel. But he was half-Filipino and half-Irish. He played also with the Titans in the 1962-1977 season.
â€œPeople ask me all the time if Iâ€™m Hawaiian or Samoan, but when I tell them Iâ€™m Filipino, they say, ‘Arenâ€™t they usually small?â€™ â€œ said Amano with a laugh. He sports the number 54 in his Titansâ€™ uniform. â€œPeople tell me Iâ€™m the first Filipino to play in the NFL.â€
[ad#omakase300x150]”Before I got here, I thought the speed of the game was going to be so unreal, but it was not that bad,” Amano said. â€œWe practiced with the (Atlanta) Falcons for three days in Nashville, and I realized I could hang with those guys.”
Amano is part of the offensive line that allowed an NFL-low 12 sacks in 2008 and opened holes for Titansâ€™ rushers to gain a franchise-record 332 rushing yards at Kansas City in October.
In their game against Jacksonville, Amano acted as left guard and helped open holes for Titansâ€™ ball carriers to gain 137 rushing yards on 32 carries (4.3 avg.) in the Titans? 17-10 victory on opening day. He was credited with helping the Titans win most of its games last year.
Amano enters his fifth NFL season prepared to step into a larger role in the offense after serving in his first four seasons as a reserve at both center and guard. He has played in all but one game during his career (63 career games played) with a total of eight starts. A strong player with quick feet, he has experience at guard and center at both the college and pro levels.
In 2007, he saw action in all 16 games with five starts (three games at right guard and two contests at center). He also started at center for an injured Kevin Mawae in the Titans playoff game against
He broke into the majors as the seventh round pick in the 2004 draft in the NFL.
There are only a limited number of Asian American football players. While there are many Samoans in the league, East Asian players are a rarity. Currently, the only four East Asians are Haruki Nakamura (Japanese American), a rookie safety with the Baltimore Ravens; Will Demps, a free safety with the Houston Texans whose mother is Korean and father is Black; Hines Ward, black father and Korean mother who played with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Amano.
Hereâ€™s how WikiPilipinas (Wikipedia) wrote about the Filipino Titan:
Eugene Robert Amano is the first full-blooded Filipino to play in the US National Football League (NFL). Now in his fourth year as a pro, the 6-3, 310-pound athlete is the starting offensive lineman for the Tennessee Titans.
Amano was born in Manila on August 1, 1982 to Aida, a nurse, and Eugene, a US Navy seal. His parents have been stationed in the Philippines for some years, but when he was two months old, they moved to California.
[ad#tindahan120x240]Amano entered the Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, California where he took up sports early. He was a rated basketball and football player, and he even and tried on track and field. It was however, in American football where he would find his calling. He made it to his Highs chool football varsity team and excelled, claiming all-conference honors as an offensive and defensive lineman in his fourth year. Despite his credentials, Amano did not get the attention of Division I universities. Luckily, a coach from Southeast Missouri State picked up his name from one of his mentors in high school and he was granted a football scholarship at Southeast Missouri State.
Amano shone brightly in college. He played every game for Southeast Missouri State, starting from midseason in his freshman year until his final game as a senior. Amano was regarded as the best center in the NCAA Division 1-AA ranks. He was even first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, The NFL Draft Report, and the Football Gazette. He was given the 1-AA Dave Rimington Award in recognition of his excellence in his position.
Amano quickly turned pro after college entering the NFL draft in 2004. He was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the seventh round of the draft. He has been playing with the team since.
Amano was 27 credit hours short of earning a diploma in criminal justice at Southeast Missouri State when he entered the NFL. After being drafted, he continued to work on his degree through independent study and an internship with a police department. In May 2006, Amano was rewarded for his efforts and received his degree in criminal justice from home state. He plans on pursuing a career as a federal agent after his football career.
The NFL center presently Splits time between Nashville and San Diego.
Starting Sept. 10, the Titans will take on the Pittsburg Steelers, then Houston and NY Jets.