The signing of Kaluka Maiava comes straight out of the Reggie McKenzie-Dennis Allen handbook when it comes to personnel.
For better or worse, Maiava, at a shade under 6-foot tall, would have never got a sniff from the Al Davis Raiders based on his physical profile.
McKenzie and Allen want football players first and foremost. Guys who are big on preparation and short on drama. Maiava qualifies.
“I’m a hard-nosed guy, man. I come to work every day and I lead by example,” Maiava said on a brief conference call before departing the Raiders facility. “I’m not the rah-rah guy giving the speeches and stuff. I lead by example and I come to work every day and I’ll play hard. I’ll go to war with anybody and I’m sure my teammates will appreciate that. I’m a tough guy and I pride myself on being one of the tougher players, and I’m here to work.”
Born in Honolulu, Maiava grew up with a steady diet of watching the Raiders and 49ers on television. The Raiders were the first team to contact him for a visit. ESPN reported Maiava signed a three-year, $6 million contract.
“When my agent said the Raiders were interested, my ears definitely perked up,” Maiava said.
Maiava said a specific role wasn’t discussed. He played primarily in a 3-4 defense in Cleveland and the Raiders were predominantly a 4-3 team last season. Allen has said repeatedly scheme will be determined by the roster, and the Raiders are still in the early stages of building defensive personnel.
“I’m just we got the business part out of the way and now when we come back we can work on actual football,” Maiava said. “I’ll play anything. Whatever the coaches need me to do, whatever it takes to win, I’ll play whatever spot they need me at.”