Video: Breakout NFL Star Overcome by Emotion During National Anthem


When the NFL season began, the Los Angeles Rams had no idea how they would replace their injured star wide receiver, fan favorite and Super Bowl LVI MVP Cooper Kupp.

Enter rookie Puka Nacua.

Not only has Nacua shattered receiving records early this season, but the 5th-round rookie has shown a respect for the pregame national anthem that will earn him many more fans.

Prior to Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, cameras caught Nacua wiping apparent tears from his eyes.

“The MNF broadcast just showed Puka Nacua getting emotional during the National Anthem, he’s really into it. Becoming a fan favorite,” one X user tweeted.

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“Puka Nacua emotional before games. What a player, but what a man!” another user posted.

Nacua proceeded to catch five passes for 72 yards in the Rams’ 19-16 loss.

Through three games, Nacua ranks second in the NFL with 30 receptions. The rest of the top five include perennial Pro Bowlers Keenan Allen, Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs.

Meanwhile, Nacua has turned those 30 receptions into 338 yards, an average of 113 yards per game.

In a Week 2 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Nacua set a single-game rookie record with a whopping 15 receptions.

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Clearly, Nacua has taken the league by storm. His unexpected success rates as perhaps the story of the season thus far.

One feels heartened, therefore, by the fact that the rookie also appears humble and likable.

For one thing, Nacua’s Samoan heritage has blessed him with a long, dark and thick head of hair resembling that of Pittsburgh Steelers legend and Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu. If Nacua shares Polamalu’s unpretentious demeanor and even approaches his on-field performance, the rookie will enjoy quite a career.

During the Monday night broadcast, announcer Chris Fowler offered an explanation of Nacua’s emotional pregame appearance.

“We talked about the feelings that he has for his father whom he lost,” Fowler said. “And he thinks about him pregame and gets into that state.”

Contrary to what some might believe, fans do not expect players to wave flags in a demonstrable show of patriotism. We simply would prefer that they refrain from drawing attention to pet causes that fuel their narcissism.

Respectful and reflective will do.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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