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Arrowhead Report: Origins of the Tamba-Hawk

Posted Nov 4, 2011

Tamba Hali explains his sack celebration, Le'Ron McClain predicts Alabama as Saturday winner and Javier Arenas added to injury report

Chiefs sackmaster Tamba Hali explains his wings-spread sack celebration on this Sunday’s Hy-Vee Chiefs Insider, but you can watch the complete unedited version of the interview beforehand right here.

Hali explains that the origin of his signature sack celebration dates back to the days of playing defensive end opposite Jared Allen.

When Hali was a rookie, he quickly took notice of the fan reaction Allen received when he’d get on one knee and mock roping a calf following each sack. With Hali actually out-sacking Allen as a rookie, the veteran encouraged the youngster to put his own spin on a post-sack celebration.

“He came up with the name ‘Tamba-Hawk’ and he started calling me ‘Tamba-Hawk,’” Hali explained. “One game he was like, ‘go ahead and do it’ after I got a sack.”

Despite Allen’s encouragement, it took a while for Hali to get comfortable performing his own celebration in front of a crowd.

“I was a little nervous because I wasn’t used to celebrating– you know at Penn State we don’t celebrate, we just get amped up,” Hali remembered. “Jared had ‘The Bull’ so I had to come up with something. Being able to flap my wings after a sack is the hawk, like you just got hawked.”

Getting “Tamba-Hawked” has become a common occurrence for quarterbacks since Allen’s departure.

In addition to leading the AFC with 14.5 sacks last season, Hali has led the Chiefs in sacks four of his five years in Kansas City.

The only season Hali hasn’t led Kansas City in quarterback takedowns was when Allen paced the entire NFL with 15.5 sacks in 2007.

“The guys on our team like (the ‘Tamba-Hawk’) and it makes them laugh when we’re watching film,” Hali said. “So it’s just something that we can get confidence from and build from there.”

After sacking Philip Rivers twice on Monday night, the San Diego signal caller has fallen victim to Hali more times than any other quarterback. Hali has now tallied 7.5 sacks against Rivers.

In total, Hali has sacked 24 different quarterbacks. Miami’s Matt Moore is not yet on the list.

Nostradamus Status

Back on September 26th, Chiefs FB Le’Ron McClain made a very *Jim Fassel-like proclamation following the Chiefs 20-17 loss in San Diego.

“We will overcome this ... 5-3 at the end of (the second) quarter of the season,” McClain tweeted.

McClain’s enthusiasm was appreciated. His sanity questioned.

The Chiefs weren’t just 0-3, but a bad 0-3. Nine turnovers led to back-to-back blowouts in Weeks One and Two, and a costly late-game interception spoiled a comeback bid in Week Three against the Chargers.

But here the Chiefs are, just as McClain predicted, more than a month later sitting one win shy of making McClain’s prophecy complete.

 “Leaving that San Diego locker room I knew that we had something going,” McClain said. “I just felt like the guys would rally around each other. We have trust in each other. It’s something that Coach (Haley) has been wanting us to do all year and we’ve just got this thing going.”

McClain said that he wasn’t trying to stand out. He just wanted to make his belief in the Chiefs public.

“I had confidence in all of these guys in this locker room,” McClain said. “It’s not me. It’s all of these guys around me, coaches and everything.”

Outspoken in the locker room this week about Alabama’s likelihood of knocking off LSU on Saturday, McClain is banking that his predictions will apply to college football as well.

“We’ve been talking about this matchup since about two weeks ago,” McClain said as the Chiefs LSU contingency yelled at him from across the locker room. “Whoever wins is going to have bragging rights for a year.”

McClain’s final prediction: Alabama 28, LSU 10

“I know that’s a pretty steep score, but I have confidence in those boys from Alabama,” McClain said.

*Fassel, in case you don’t remember, was the N.Y. Giants head coach in 2000 when he made a bold prediction about the Giants’ playoff hopes following a brutal loss to the Lions in late November.

A month later, the Giants wrapped up the NFC East with a 12-4 record. They’d eventually go on to win the NFC Championship before falling short in Super Bowl XXXV to the Baltimore Ravens.


Arenas Added To Injured List

Chiefs CB Javier Arenas emerged on Friday’s injury report with an ankle injury and his status for Sunday’s game is now in question.

Averaging 15.1 yards per punt return, Arenas ranks first in the AFC and second in the NFL.  He’s also taken on a larger role defensively as the team’s primary nickel back, averaging more than 25 defensive snaps per game.

Arenas is joined on the Chiefs final injury report by veteran S Jon McGraw.

McGraw’s chances of playing on Sunday took a hit after he missed his third consecutive practice because of a shoulder injury. Donald Washington took over at strong safety after McGraw left Monday night’s game in the second half.

Washington also started in place of an injured McGraw vs. Minnesota.

Chiefs Injury Report

DOUBTFUL – S Jon McGraw (Shoulder)

QUESTIONABLE – CB Javier Arenas (Ankle)

Dolphins Injury Report

Miami lists 10 players on its final injury report, but none have been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

QUESTIONABLE: CB Vontae Davis (Hamstring), WR Edmond Gates (Groin), RB Daniel Thomas (Hamstring)

PROBABLE: S Yeremiah Bell (Toe), T Marc Colombo (Knee), C Mike Pouncey (Neck), LB Jason Taylor (Hip), G Richie Incognito (Ankle), DE Kendall Langford (Hips), QB Matt Moore (Ribs)

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