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Taivale "Junior" Tautalatasi Jr. (born March 24, 1962) is a former American football running back in the National Football League for the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Washington State University.

Junior Tautalatasi
No. 25, 37
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1962-03-24) March 24, 1962 (age 57)
Oakland, California
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:207 lb (94 kg)
Career information
High school:Encinal (CA)
College:Washington State
NFL Draft:1986 / Round: 10 / Pick: 261
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games Played:51
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR


Early yearsEdit

Tautalatasi attended Encinal High School, where he received All-league honors in football and track. He moved moved on to Chabot College, where he practiced football and track. He transferred to Washington State University at the end of his sophomore season.

After redshirting for a year, he posted modest stats in his college career, while playing behind Rueben Mayes (conference rushing leader) and Kerry Porter.[1] As a senior, he registered 53 carries for 364 yards with a 6.8-yard average, including 15 carries for 115 rushing yards against Montana State University.

Professional careerEdit

Philadelphia EaglesEdit

Tautalatasi was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the tenth round (261st overall) of the 1986 NFL Draft. He made the team after showing big play potential in the preseason.[2] He appeared in all 16 games as the team's third down back and started 2 games, including the season opener, while Keith Byars was recovering from a foot injury. Although he was slowed down by a right knee injury,[3] he finished with 41 receptions (second on the team) for 325 receiving yards (fourth on the team) and 51 carries for 163 rushing yards.[4] He had 11 receptions in the tenth game against the New York Giants. He recorded a 50-yard run in the seventh game against the Dallas Cowboys. He made a 56-yard reception in the fifth game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Buddy Ryan, Tautalatasi's head coach with the Eagles, was unable to pronounce his last name and referred to him most often as "Junior Smith".[5] In 1987, he posted 25 receptions (fourth on the team) for 176 receiving yards (eighth on the team) and 26 carries for 69 yards. On November 9, 1988, he was waived to make room for running back Walter Abercrombie.[6]

Dallas CowboysEdit

On September 26, 1989, he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent. He was a backup running back and was released on August 26, 1990.[7]


  1. ^ "Tautalatasi Would Like To Come Out Of Hiding". Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  2. ^ "Despite Brilliance, Junior Will Play 2nd Fiddle". Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  3. ^ "Potential Trouble Awaits Tautalatasi After 'scope". Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  4. ^ Drago, Mike (19 August 1987). "Ryan displeased with Tautalatasi". Reading Eagle. p. 38. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Ryan Promotes Waters And Tautalatasi To First String". Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Abercrombie Joins Eagles. Tautalatasi Released". Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  7. ^ "Former Eagle Zendejas Released By Cowboys". Retrieved January 25, 2018.

External linksEdit