Tuineau Alipate
No. 91, 51, 53
Born:(1967-08-21)August 21, 1967
Died:October 15, 2021(2021-10-15) (aged 54)
Bloomington, Minnesota
Career information
Height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight245 lb (111 kg)
CollegeWashington State
High schoolUnion City (CA) James Logan
Career history
As player
19891991Saskatchewan Roughriders
1991Hamilton Tiger-Cats
1992Saskatchewan Roughriders*
1993Los Angeles Raiders*
1993, 1994New York Jets
1994Green Bay Packers*
19951996Minnesota Vikings
*Off-season and/or practice squad only.
Career highlights and awards
Career stats

Tuineau A. Alipate (/tˈn ˌælɪˈpɑːt/;[1] August 21, 1967 – October 15, 2021) was a gridiron football linebacker who played in the National Football League (NFL) and Canadian Football League (CFL). After playing college football at Washington State University, Alipate played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL from 1989 to 1992. In 1989, he was part of the Roughriders team that won the 77th Grey Cup. After being cut by the Roughriders, Alipate tried out for multiple NFL teams and received a practice squad position with the New York Jets. He went on to play for both the Jets and the Minnesota Vikings from 1994 to 1996, primarily on special teams. He also had a short stint with the Green Bay Packers in 1995.

Early career

Alipate was born in Tonga and moved to the San Francisco Bay area when he was eight years old.[1] He did not play football until he attended James Logan High School in Union City, California.[1][2] He was inducted into the James Logan High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.[2] He played college football with the Washington State Cougars. In his senior year, he missed all but two games due to a broken thumb.[1] Alipate returned in time for the Aloha Bowl against the Houston Cougars, where he forced a fumble on Houston's final possession to preserve a 24–22 win.[3]

Professional career

Canadian football

Alipate was signed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1989 but released prior to the start of the regular season.[4] Nevertheless, he rejoined the team and played in 17 regular season games that year.[5] Alipate benefited from a slew of linebacker injuries, and he finished the season as one of only two linebackers on the Roughriders who avoided injury in 1989.[6] In a Week 17 win against the Calgary Stampeders, Alipate blocked a punt on special teams and intercepted Tom Porras to be named the CFL's Defensive Player of the Week.[7][8] Alipate made 31 tackles and three fumble recoveries during his rookie season and was named the Roughriders' nominee for the Rookie of the Year award.[5][7] Alipate recovered a fumble during the West Division Final, setting up a touchdown drive. The Roughriders went on to upset the championship-favorite Edmonton Eskimos 32–21 to become division champions.[9] The Roughriders won the 77th Grey Cup 43–40 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.[10] In 1990, Alipate played in all 18 regular season games for the Roughriders and made 35 tackles.[5]

The Tiger-Cats traded for Alipate in May 1991 as part of an agreement that sent quarterback Tom Worman to Saskatchewan.[11] Due to the CFL's import ratio, Alipate was held out of games during the beginning of the season. He started in place of Pete Giftopoulos in early September but was later injured and placed on the reserve list.[12][13] Alipate ended the season with 25 tackles, three sacks, and a fumble recovery over seven games.[5] The Saskatchewan Roughriders signed Alipate for training camp in 1992, but he was released before the start of the regular season.[14]

American football

Alipate practiced with both the Los Angeles Raiders and the New York Jets in 1993, but he failed to make the active rosters for either team.[1] In 1994, Alipate was again among the Jets' final cuts before the start of the regular season, but he was offered a spot on the team's practice squad.[15][16] The Jets frequently moved Alipate back and forth from the practice squad and the active roster throughout the season. On November 14, Alipate recovered a botched punt in a 17–10 loss to the Green Bay Packers.[17] Alipate also forced a fumble in a November 27 game against the Miami Dolphins.[18] He finished the season with eight games played for the Jets.[19] When active, Alipate was used mostly on special teams.[20] He was signed to the Green Bay Packers' practice squad in January 1995.[21] He re-signed with the Packers on February 21 and was waived on June 12, 1995.[22][23]

In July 1995, the Minnesota Vikings acquired Alipate for use on special teams.[24][20] Throughout the season, Alipate was also used as a backup for multiple positions, including the middle linebacker and strongside linebacker.[25] He played in all 16 regular season games that year, but Alipate's playing time was limited mostly to special teams.[19] Alipate was cut from the Vikings after training camp in 1996 in favor of first-round draft pick Duane Clemons.[26] Alipate tried out for the Vikings in 1998 but was not signed by the team.[27]

Personal life

Alipate was the nephew of Halaevalu Mataʻaho ʻAhomeʻe, former Queen Consort of Tonga.[28] He was married to Lisa Alipate and had five sons and one daughter: Marcus, Mikias, Moses, Mariah, Maximus, and Maddox. Marcus Alipate played college basketball at the University of St. Thomas and currently plays for the Canterbury Rams of the National Basketball League of New Zealand.[29][30] Mikias and Moses both played college football at South Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota, respectively.[31][32]

He died on October 15, 2021.


  1. ^ a b c d e Eskenazi, Gerald (November 18, 1994). "Pro Football; Jets' Alipate, a Tongan, Has No Illusions of Stardom on Way to the Bank". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Athletics Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on September 21, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  3. ^ "Aloha Bowl; Washington State Holds Off Houston". The New York Times. December 26, 1988. p. 53.
  4. ^ "Deals". USA Today. July 11, 1989. p. 9C.
  5. ^ a b c d Maher, Tod; Gill, Bob (2013). The Canadian Pro Football Encyclopedia: Every Player, Coach and Game, 1946–2012. Maher Sports Media. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-9835136-6-7.
  6. ^ "Roughies coach happy as linebackers return". Globe and Mail. November 9, 1989.
  7. ^ a b "Roughriders rally with 17-point surge to cancel the Stamps". Toronto Star. October 30, 1989. p. D6.
  8. ^ "Champion, Pothier grab CFL honors". Toronto Star. November 1, 1989. p. F6.
  9. ^ Strachan, Al (November 20, 1989). "Underdog 'Riders stun Eskimos". The Globe and Mail.
  10. ^ Vanstone, Rob (April 14, 2014). "1989 Grey Cup an enduring classic; Our panel unanimously picks this high-scoring contest as the best in Riders' history". The Leader-Post. p. C1.
  11. ^ "Sport in Brief Tiger-Cats trade for Goldsmith". The Globe and Mail. May 8, 1991.
  12. ^ "Toronto vs. Hamilton". Toronto Star. September 2, 1991. p. C3.
  13. ^ "People Transactions". The Gazette. October 29, 1991. p. B4.
  14. ^ "Roughies send fans' favorite packing". Hamilton Spectator. July 7, 1992. p. E4.
  15. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (August 30, 1994). "Pro Football; Esiason Isn't Worried by Preseason Problems". The New York Times. p. B11.
  16. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (September 1, 1994). "Pro Football; Jets Won't Leave Rookie Twisting in Buffalo Wind". The New York Times. p. B21.
  17. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (November 14, 1994). "Pro Football; Once Again, Jets Are Shot Down on 4th Down". The New York Times. p. C1.
  18. ^ "Catching Carter". The Washington Post. November 28, 1994. p. D8.
  19. ^ a b "Tuineau Alipate". Archived from the original on June 25, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Wells, Jim (July 26, 1995). "Special Teams Have Mean Attitude". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. p. 1D.
  21. ^ Carlson, Chuck, and Mulhern,Tom (January 7, 1995). "Morgan hasn't got time for the pain". The Post-Crescent. p. 23. Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.((cite news)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  22. ^ "Notes". Green Bay Press-Gazette. February 22, 1995. p. 19. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  23. ^ "Packers waive two linebackers". Ironwood Daily Globe. Associated Press. June 13, 1995. p. 8. Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  24. ^ "Transactions". Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  25. ^ Richardson, Ray (August 29, 1995). "Vikings Hope That Harris Can Recover Starting Job". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. p. 3D.
  26. ^ Richardson, Ray (August 21, 1996). "For Now, It's Sission Kicking". Saint Paul Pioneer Pres. p. 1D.
  27. ^ "Vikings' Pelletier Leaves P.R. Position". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. March 14, 1998. p. 2C.
  28. ^ "'Rider fans ready for a Gardens party". Toronto Star. November 25, 1989. p. B4.
  29. ^ "Marcus Alipate – University of St. Thomas". Archived from the original on August 18, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  30. ^ Van Royen, Robert (April 20, 2017). "Canterbury Rams guard Marcus Alipate chasing a different kind of dream". Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  31. ^ "Mikias Alipate". Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  32. ^ "Moses Alipate Bio :: University of Minnesota Official Athletic Site :: Football". Archived from the original on June 26, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2016.