Former players enjoy getting back to UW

This past weekend was a reunion of sorts for many former players who attended several functions aimed at getting them more involved with the program they helped to build. Dawgman.com caught up with several of them and got their thoughts on the weekend and what it was like to be back on the sidelines at Husky Stadium.

QB Marques Tuiasosopo (1997 – 2000)

On the reunion on Friday night: "It was a great experience. Guys are still talking about it (Saturday) and it was so much fun. Not only did you get to see guys you played with, but you got to see everybody else. There were guys from all the different times like Rick Redmond was there and Joe Steele and Steve Emtman and the Hoffman brothers, Corey Dillon and Lawyer Milloy and a bunch of guys I played with and guys who just finished playing a year or two ago."

On the new staff: "It just feels different. I was talking to some guys last night and we were like ‘we can breathe', we can be Huskies and not feel bad about it and the new staff is great and I think coach (Steve) Sarkisian is going to bring up back to where we belong and fans will be really happy to have him here."

On what he's doing now: "I'm a free agent right now, so hopefully I can sign on with a team and keep playing, but I've got a family now and I'm just loving life."


TE Mark Bruener (1991 - 1994)

On being back in Husky Stadium: "The last time I was here was my last game as a Husky, so it feels pretty amazing to come back here and see the stadium and to see the team out here it's very exciting and I'm glad we're able to start a new tradition and a new staff. It's a great time for Husky football."

On the player reunion at the Duchess on Friday night: "It was much more than I ever expected. To have players from representing so many decades – from the 60's, the 70's, the 80's, the 90's and the new millennium – to me it was incredible. A number of the players that I talked with were like ‘why haven't we done this sooner?' and it was such a great experience. My hats off to Elliot Silvers for organizing that and just to bring the tradition of Husky football back is really important."

On who he saw and caught up with: "Steve and Dave Hoffman, Shane Fortney, Ted Stark, Steve Emtman, Steve Springstead, Hillary Butler, everybody was there. These are all guys I had great experiences with and had a chance to interact with over the years and we've lost touch because people live in different cities and to come back for our spring game is really neat."

On what he's up to now: "I just retired from the Houston Texans. I had a blessed 14-year career in the NFL and my family and I are going to be moving up here in the summer and we're going to make Seattle our home again."


LB Dave Hoffman (1988 – 1991)

On being back at Husky Stadium: "It's just a luxury being around the guys and the old players and stuff. It's tough not running out there when you hear that drum pounding."

On coming down the tunnel yet again: "I came down the tunnel (on Friday) by myself and it brings back a lot of memories and all the hard work we put into things. It's tough because the energy of getting after it, there is nothing like it."

On seeing all of his old teammates: "I could start going down the list and I would never stop with all the guys I saw. It was a list of guys that everybody picks up where you leave off and it was just like we saw each other yesterday with all the stuff we went through together. We're all brothers and we played together and it's a brotherhood of guys and we all treat each other that way. We're a family."

On the new Husky coaching staff: "I like this new staff and I think they're going to get things going."


RB Willie Hurst (1998 – 2001)

On coming back to watch the Huskies: "It's great to be back. I haven't been back in about four or five years so this whole reunion thing was something I had to be here for. To see all the guys – Hakeem Akbar, Jermaine Smith, Greg Lewis, Leon Neal – and to see all the guys from like 50 years of Husky football it was just amazing to see all of them."

On being back on the field at Husky Stadium: "It's way bigger. You almost forget the aura that this place brings back. Just being around all these Dawgs that are here and the winning tradition that we had here and coming here to the spring game, the traffic was awful and I had never been on that side of things and I'm like ‘is all this for the spring game' so it's great to see the fans out here supporting it like they are."

On being a fan now: "It's different being on this side of things, but it's great because it makes you appreciate what you did a lot more and it's amazing to see that the fans are so into it and that you really have to appreciate what they do for the program as well."


DE Kai Ellis (2001 – 2002)

On being back: "It's been great just seeing all the guys again and it makes me wonder why I haven't been back sooner and I'm really glad I came back. Seeing everybody like Anthony Kelly and Braxton Cleman and everybody. I'm really happy to be back and I hope they have a real strong season this year."

On playing in Canada: "I was with Winnipeg and I just got traded to Edmonton. Everything's different, like when I was in Montreal I had to learn French a little so I didn't just point to things that I wanted. The rules are different up there and it's a lot of running (because of the field), but I'm having a lot of fun and I hope we can go to the Grey Cup which is the championship for Canadian football and this year it's in Alberta."


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