Tragedy has hit professional football, as a former Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle has been found dead in a Kansas federal prison.
Saousoalii Siavii Jr., 43, was being held on charges of illegal firearms possession, according to prison officials. On Thursday, Jan. 13, Siavii was found unresponsive at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth.
Looks like this photo came from 2019 Saousoalii “Junior” Siavii was arrested in August 2019 after police spotted him driving a vehicle that had been reported stolen in Kansas City.
AP / City of Independence Missouri Police Department https://t.co/eQePjOd0fP
— Convos In The Park (@Convosindapark) January 16, 2022
The former player was treated by prison staff and taken to an area hospital, eventually pronounced dead.
Kansas City drafted the 6-foot-5, 315-pound former Oregon lineman in the second round in 2004. He spent two seasons with the Chiefs before going on to play for Dallas in 2009 and Seattle in 2010.
In August 2019, Siavii was arrested in a Kansas City suburb and later charged with being an unlawful drug user in possession of firearms. This was after police saw Siavii exiting a reported stolen vehicle, authorities said.
Former NFL defensive tackle Saousoalii “Junior” Siavii died in a Kansas prison while awaiting trial on federal gun and drug trafficking charges, records show. Siavili, 43, was found unresponsive Thursday in the US Penitentiary in Leavenworth just after 2:30 p.m.😢 pic.twitter.com/G6ztd6zeWp
— Sumner (@diamondlass99) January 15, 2022
Circumstances After Arrest
According to reports a stun gun was used on him twice during the arrest.
Prosecutors have alleged that Siavii possessed a gun, ammunition, methamphetamine, and marijuana. By November 15, 2019, he was indicted by the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri on other conspiracy and drug-trafficking charges; this supersedes his original indictment. Authorities allege he was part of a methamphetamine smuggling ring.
A Football Player To The Core
Siavii, who was from American Samoa, played for one year at Dixie State Junior College before leaving for Butte Community College. He played for two seasons and received All-NorCal Conference honors in 2000.
In 2001, he was declared ineligible and spent the year earning his degree before transferring to the University of Oregon.
Saousoalii P. Siavii Jr., better known as Junior Siavii, was found dead today while in jail. He was charged in federal court in 2019 with three counts of illegally possessing firearms. He was being held in the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth awaiting trial.
— Save Our Chiefs Defense (@1_ChiefsKingdom) January 14, 2022
He was primarily a reserve defensive tackle with only two starts, posting 15 tackles (2.5 for loss) and a half-sack as a junior. As a senior, he was named a starter in a defensive line that included Igor Olshansky, registering 43 tackles and two sacks.
The Kansas City Chiefs selected Siavii in the second round (36th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. Although he was expected to be a run-stopper on the defensive line, he floundered as a rookie. He collected 12 tackles (four for loss), one sack, and three quarterback pressures.
His playing time was limited in 2005 by a knee injury he suffered in training camp. He played in 14 games, recording 15 tackles and three quarterback pressures.
Federal prison officials say Saousoalii Siavii, a former @NFL defensive tackle, died in a prison in Kansas today. He was being held pretrial on weapons charges.
He played for the Butte College Roadrunners in 1999 and 2000, earning All-Norcal Conference honors. pic.twitter.com/VklV2XOIwq
— Ethan Biando (@ethanb822) January 14, 2022
His knee injuries were constant through 2006, and they kept Siavii on the disabled list as he was unable to perform. However, he was waived in late 2006 and eventually needed microfracture surgery on his right knee.
After years out of the league Siavii was signed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2009, and the following season he went to the Seattle Seahawks, where he started six games in what would become his best and final season in the NFL.
Details on the factors that contributed to his death are still not available.
Siavii’s former Kansas City Chiefs team is now in the NFL Divisional round and will be facing the Buffalo Bills on home turf on Sunday. The team vanquished the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend at home during the Wild Card Weekend. The game was likely the last of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s career.
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