Daniel Te'o Nesheim

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Daniel Te'o Nesheim

Te'o Nesheim 2012 (cropped).jpg
Nesheim in 2012
Daniel Nesheim

(1987-06-12)June 12, 1987
DiedOctober 29, 2017(2017-10-29) (aged 30)
Cause of deathChronic traumatic encephalopathy lesions from head injuries and overdose
  • Professional football player
  • Assistant and Head Football coach
Years active2010-2017

Sir Daniel Te'o Nesheim OH (12 June 1987 – 29 October 2017) was an Samoan American football defensive end, and paternal cousin to Cameron I. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He played college football at Washington. He was posthumously awarded the Order of the Heart.

Early life

Young Te'o Nesheim in Pago Pago.

Te'o-Nesheim was born in Pago Pago on June 12, 1987 to parents David and Ailota Nesheim. He moved to Mill Creek at the age of 5. His father, David, died of an aneurysm when Te'o-Nesheim was attending Heatherwood Middle School. Te'o-Nesheim relocated back to American Samoa at age 12 before going on to attend boarding school in Hawaii. Although his last name was originally Nesheim his mother suggested adding the Samoan surname Te'o to it while he was in high school as a tribute to the family's Samoan heritage.

In the Samoan tradition, he was surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. As a child, he played baseball, basketball, soccer, karate and, starting at 11, tackle football.

The following summer, Te’o-Nesheim moved to Hilo to board at the Hawaii Preparatory Academy, a private school. He played baseball, football, basketball and shot put.

College career

Te'o Nesheim playing as a Washington Huskie.

Te'o-Nesheim played college football at the University of Washington. He redshirted in 2005 and earned the scout team defensive player of the year award. He was named the defensive MVP in 2007. In 2008, he won the Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational Award, the John P. Angel Defensive Lineman of the Year award, and the L. Wait Rising Lineman of the Year award. He was named a team captain in 2008 and 2009. He earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2009.

He started all 49 games of his career recording a total of 194 tackles, 30 sacks, 50.5 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.

Professional career

Philadelphia Eagles

Te'o-Nesheim was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round (86th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. He was signed to a four-year contract on June 16, 2010. Te'o-Nesheim was hindered by a shoulder injury throughout his rookie season, only playing in six games (starting in the season-finale against Dallas after the Eagles clinched a playoff berth) and recording two tackles and one sack. He registered his first career sack in the game against the Cowboys.

Te'o-Nesheim was waived on September 3, 2011, during final roster cuts, but was re-signed to the team's practice squad on September 4.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After spending most of the 2011 season on the Eagles' practice squad, Te'o-Nesheim was signed off it by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 22 and played for 2 years.

Later life and death

A shrine for Te’o-Nesheim in November 2017, the day after a memorial gathering for him at a friend’s house in Hilo.

Following his playing days, Te'o-Nesheim became an assistant coach for two years at his high school, Hawaii Preparatory Academy, before becoming the head coach in 2017. Te'o-Nesheim later died at the age of 30 on October 29, 2017 due to a CTE and a painkiller overdose. Te'o-Nesheim's family donated his brain to the Boston University School of Medicine, where doctors determined that he had been suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

He was posthumously awarded the Order of the Heart in the rank of Honorable Knight in the Kingdom of Ikonia on 14 April 2019.