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Miami Dolphins linebacker and team captain Koa Misi, 28, who is hosting the inaugural Pink Tie Bash this month to raise money for breast cancer research, talks his favorite NFL moments, Ferraris, and the love he has for his family.
Why did you decide to host the Pink Tie Bash?
What got me motivated was my grandmother. She’s had breast cancer three times. She’s still going through treatment. Our goal is to raise $50,000 to support the Cleveland Clinic Breast Center.
What does the event mean to you personally?
When I was at the [NFL] Combine, I met with 10 different teams. The one question that always came up was, “What would be one of the things that you’d do with the money?” I always told them that I wanted to be able to take care of my grandparents. The fact that it’s coming true, it’s big for me now.
You’re in your sixth year in the NFL, all with the Dolphins. What’s your favorite moment?
On the field, it’s my first sack. There was adrenaline pumping through me. I just screamed. Off the field, it has to be draft day. Getting that phone call was one of the best things.
You’re a really laid-back guy. Does that surprise people?
Off the field, you would never know what I do on the field. I don’t put myself out there to be a “rah-rah” guy. Growing up, my dad always told me to be humble and to live my life in a respectable manner.
Is that difficult—to be humble in the NFL?
Just coming into the NFL, it hits you—guys driving Ferraris and big cars. But I was prepared well for what was to come.
What makes this year’s team different?
The way the guys are. The way we’ve connected as players. … We do linebacker dinners together, even the rookies. The way our coach wants us to invite people to come into the team. When I was a rookie, I was scared. … Now rookies can let loose. It’s more like a brotherhood. People aren’t being put down. ... Guys are helping each other out, trying to make things better.
Is seems like there’s been a shift in the team’s mentality.
For sure. We’re getting rid of that image we’ve had in the past. We talk about team issues. ... It’s not just the coach’s word anymore. Coach still has the last say, but we’re able to get our two cents in.
You’ve been with the team since 2010. I imagine you’re somewhat of a father figure to your teammates, and especially the rookies.
I’ve been there the longest. I always tell them: “It’s the NFL. You need to conduct yourself like an NFL athlete. No matter what you’re doing or where you’re at on the field or off the field, you’re always being evaluated.”
How do you mentally prepare for the season?
It has to be one game at a time. You put all of your focus into that game.
Which game(s) has the most at stake?
The Patriots and the Jets, every year.
Favorite post-game meal?
Sometimes I’m not even hungry. I’ll just have something small, like a wrap. But with my family, my favorite spot is Kuro at the Hard Rock.