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7-Time Pro Bowl Center Kevin Mawae On Being A Leader In The NFL

Brian Bahr / Staff

Any Center like Kevin Mawae, a 7-time Pro Bowler, Ring of Honor member, and former NFLPA President, is a leader among men. A persistent and durable player, he succeeded in playing 177 games as an unbroken streak until an arm injury took him out of the game in October of 2005.

Two things were key for Mawae on the playing field. First, his skills made him a leader at the top of his game, and second, his valuable experience and time in the league. I once asked him what qualities he thought made people gravitate toward him. Here are his own words:

Some of us are blessed with more ability than others, but I think the guy that takes ability and hones it, makes it better than it already was to automatically attract others. I think that guy earns a great more respect in the locker room than somebody who’s naturally gifted but never works at it."

“My longevity in the game definitely helped because the longer you’re in the game, the more people pay attention."

“I’m also approachable, and I like to be approached. I enjoy meeting other people and opening myself up to them. When you have that kind of charisma, then naturally people will listen.”

In addition to a positive self-perception, Kevin always felt that leaders need to be straight shooters: “Leaders cannot dance around issues. Otherwise, people will approach that leader with skepticism, doubt, and questions like Can I trust him? Is he telling me the truth? What is he hiding? Why is he avoiding the issue?"

Leaders cannot dance around issues. – @KevinMawae

Once again, I believe very good player started with a vision of his future greatness, and every good leader evolved into the greatness of this vision. Kevin Mawae is a perfect example of this, and, one day soon, I look forward to watching his well-deserved induction into the NFL Hall of Fame.