Part of the 'Ohana': Shane Victorino pulling for Marcus Mariota

Rob Bradford
April 30, 2015 - 8:09 am
Shane Victorino has gone through something like this before. A few years ago, he was texting with linebacker Manti T'eo leading up to the NFL Draft. A few months earlier, the outfielder had been a guest of T'eo and his family for the final Notre Dame home game of the 2012 season. Now, it's Marcus Mariota. "It was the same thing," Victorino said. Identical in the sense that like T'eo, Victorino also attended one of Mariota's games, taking the former Oregon quarterback out to dinner after beating Stanford. Similar because the Sox outfielder has been also texting with the soon-to-be draftee, offering encouragement and advise. But what makes Victorino's interactions with both T'eo and Mariota mirror-images of one another is foundation behind the relationships. All are living the life of Hawaiians entering into the world of professional sports. "I was texting last week just to see how he'€™s doing and how things are going," said Victorino of Mariota, who figures to be one of top picks in Thursday night's NFL Draft. "It'€™s important to be open to help. I told him, '€˜If there is any question for anything, if there'€™s one guy who has experienced '€“ maybe not in the game of football '€“ agents, the ups and downs, being at the high and losing at the top. So we'€™ve communicated. "We always use the word 'Ohana,' which means family. No matter what, I'€™ll still look at you like family. This kid has remained humble. You always hear him talk about his teammates. Being an unbelievable football player, he still always gives credit to his teammates." Victorino understands the responsibility that comes with a native of Hawaii making it the big time. He always looked up to former major leaguer Benny Agbayani, and has a strong connection with former and current pro athletes in all sports. That's why that dinner during the Oregon visit was so important. A message had to be passed along. "As an athlete these guys look up to, you feel honored for them to sit there at the table and act like that," Victorino said. "Then you look across the way and you realize this kid has so much potential. "Even though it'€™s not the same sport, these kids always say, 'We hope to fall in your footsteps as to what you did in your career.' That'€™s the kind of stuff, coming from there, it makes me humble because these kids have such bright futures. But you'€™re the person who might look up to or say they want to your footsteps. Understanding the career I'€™m having is giving these kids an understanding that it'€™s reachable."