Defensive linemen, typically some of the biggest players on the gridiron, get plenty of sumo references throughout their careers. For Webber International University player Soslan Gagloev any sumo comments would likely be met with a shrug by the former professional sumo wrestler seeking a new start in a new sport.
Gagloev has NFL dreams, but is starting small, so to speak, at Webber in the NAIA division.
A native of Russia, Gagloev moved to Japan to compete in the sumo world as a teenager. He eventually worked his way up into the country's top league for sumo wrestling. In 2008 he was arrested for marijuana possession. That arrest and accusations of match-fixing got him banned from the sport.
This will be his second year at Webber. Measuring 6-foot-4, he has worked with former NFL head coach Mike Singletary to get in playing shape. He has dropped more than 100 pounds to get down to his current playing weight of 280.
Gagloev maintains a healthy perspective and determination for his ultimate goal:
"I came to reach an American dream and I understood clearly at the time that I need time to do that," Gagloev said with the aid of an interpreter. "I need time to get adjusted. I need time to achieve. ... I sacrificed my family just to come to this country and go to school and learn the culture and learn the football and do the best I can."