Mauga aims to find new NFL home
Josh Mauga is between jobs but hopes his unemployment status changes in the next several weeks.
The ex-Greenwave and Wolf Pack linebacker became an unrestricted free agent in the offseason after the Jets severed ties because of injuries preventing Mauga from competing all of last season. But Mauga’s been training in San Diego and feels confident he will be medically cleared before the end of the month, which will allow teams to sign him for the 2014 season.
“I’m just waiting to get cleared and then they can start making phone calls,” Mauga said. “I’ve had a few calls from a few teams showing interest. I’m working out and waiting to get cleared by the doctors.”
Before he finds a new home in the NFL, Mauga will join other Fallon alums this weekend for Saturday’s Hometown Heroes event at Churchill County High School.
“Fallon’s a great community,” Mauga said. “They’ve supported me and many other Greenwave athletes here. It’s nice to give back to them and I have fun doing it.”
Mauga was one of those rare athletes who not only excelled in three different sports, but he could have competed at the NCAA Division I level in football, wrestling or track.
The accolades speak for themselves.
In high school, Mauga won state titles in wrestling and track, was named the Sertoma Classic Defensive MVP and picked up Nevadaprep.com’s Greater Nevada Male Athlete of the Year award. He picked up all-league, all-region and all-state honors in three sports, broke the school’s discus record and received the keys to the city and had his football jersey number retired in 2011.
Although Mauga excelled on any field, or mat, he stepped on, his greatest passion was football.
With offers from the Pac-12, Mauga stayed close to home, choosing to play his collegiate career for Chris Ault’s Wolf Pack, where he was named to The Sporting News All-Freshman Team in 2005.
Injuries, however, started to plague Mauga’s career after his sophomore year when he was second on the team in tackles. He led the Western Athletic Conference in tackles as a junior before an MCL injury sidelined him for six weeks. Mauga still finished second on the team in tackles and was even in contention for the WAC Defensive Player of the Year award and invited to the East-West Shrine all-star game before a back injury kept him from competing at full strength in the NFL Combine in 2009.
Nevertheless, Mauga signed as an undrafted free agent with the Jets before being temporarily released. His first game came in 2010 around Halloween against Green Bay and the Jets fell one game short of competing in the Super Bowl. In 2011, Mauga played the entire season and recorded his first interception against the Jaguars. The following season seemed to be Mauga’s big break after the first five games where he played more on defense during passing situations. But a torn pectoral muscle kept him out for the rest of the year before his back injury came back last season.
“I’m feeling great,” Mauga said. “The last five weeks, I haven’t had any problems. Everything’s going OK. I’ve had some improvements and I feel confident.”