Injury forces NFL player to call audible

Pupu'a goes from NFL sidelines to opera stage

Mike Klan, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Sports Director, mklan@keyt.com
POSTED: 10:05 PM PST Feb 28, 2013    UPDATED: 10:10 PM PST Feb 28, 2013 
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

Ta'u Pupu'a has beaten long odds twice now. The defensive end was drafted in the NFL but an injury cut his career short. He then turned to his other passion and he is now a professional opera singer.

Pupu'a is starring this weekend in Aida at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. Show times are Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

The 6-foot-5, 290 pound defensive end was drafted out of Weber State by the Cleveland Browns in 1995. But a broken arch in his foot kept him from playing a regular season game in the NFL.

A native of the Island of Tonga, Pupu'a was always being complemented on his powerful voice so he took a shot at opera. He attended The Juilliard School in New York and would make his professional opera debut in 2011. The tenor is now considered to have a world class voice.