Cardinals’ Mike Iupati named the Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year

Jan 5, 2016, 8:31 AM

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Arizona Cardinals guard Mike Iupati has been named the first recipient of the Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year presented by Hawaiian Airlines.

Iupati, in his first year with the Cardinals, helped stabilize the offensive line as Arizona posted a franchise-best 13-3 record and heads into the NFL Playoffs as the the number-two seed in the NFC.

Iupati won the balloting over Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota, Cincinnati Bengals LB Rey Maualuga, Miami Dolphins LB Koa Misi and San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te’o.

“As a proud Polynesian and Samoan, I am honored to be selected as the inaugural Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year,” Iupati said in a statement. “I would like to congratulate the other finalists, Marcus Mariota, Rey Maualuga, Koa Misi and Manti Te`o as they represent the very best of our culture and the National Football League.”

Iupati was selected to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl this season. Known as a rugged run blocker, Iupati’s presence helped the Cardinals average 119.8 yards per game on the ground, a 38-yard improvement over 2014.

“On behalf of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Board of Directors and Selection Committee, we congratulate Mike on this historic accomplishment,” said Ma’a Tanuvasa, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman. “Mike is a great role model and inspiration for our youth around the globe.”

Iupati will receive the award at the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Celebration Dinner on Jan. 29.

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