Kaluka Maiava is joining the Oakland Raiders, after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns. In a sense, however, Maiava's new franchise had already been his team for some time.
"Growing up, being from Hawaii, we watch a lot of those Raider games," the Baldwin High School graduate said Wednesday after he signed a three-year contact worth $6 million.
"Being a part of the tradition there is a big deal. I've got cousins, they've got it tattooed on them, the Raiders logo," he said. "There's some who are thinking of naming their kids 'Raider.' "
Kaluka Maiava, shown wrapping up Philadelphia’s Clay Harbor during a game in September, has signed with the Oakland Raiders after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
AP file photo
Kaluka Maiava had 53 tackles, a career best, last season with the Cleveland Browns.
The 26-year-old Maiava reached a deal with Oakland on the league's first full day of free agency.
"I always like knowing where I'm going," he said. "The quicker the better. I wanted to get a deal done as soon as possible."
Last season, Maiava played in every game for Cleveland, starting 13, and finished with a career-high 53 tackles, recording two sacks and two forced fumbles. In 50 career games, he has 133 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks and five forced fumbles.
"I have nothing but love for Cleveland," said Maiava, who was taken by the Browns in the fourth round of the 2009 draft out of Southern California. "They gave me four years in Cleveland, gave me my start."
The Browns changed coaches this offseason after going 5-11, bringing in Rob Chudzinski to replace Pat Shurmur. That means Cleveland's base defense will likely go from using three linebackers to four.
"When they changed the defense, I knew this might happen," Maiava said. "I'm more of a 4-3 linebacker."
Oakland also signed defensive end Jason Hunter and defensive tackle Pat Sims on Wednesday.
"We're excited to add three veterans through free agency," Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was quoted as saying on the team's website, "helping to create depth and competition on defense. We'll continue to add free agents as the opportunity surfaces."
Brad Sherman is at email@example.com