PROVO, Utah (ABC4 News) – A former University of Utah football standout is now wearing a blue uniform in his new role with the Provo Police Department.
Not only is the former Ute wearing blue, he’s doing it in Provo, the heart of Cougar Country. Officer Isaac Asiata grew up in the Provo area and now has come full circle from the U of U to the NFL and now to the PPD.
Wearing number 54, Asiata played guard for the Utes for four seasons from 2013-2016, earning all-conference honors twice and recovering a fumble for a touchdown against USC in 2016.
“There’s so many memories, so many good times,” Officer Asiata says with a smile. “Such a great point in my life. I can go on for hours.”
He impressed the Miami Dolphins so much that they picked him in the 4th Round of the 2017 NFL Draft and signed him to a 4 year, $2.66 million contract but after two years mainly spent on the bench…he was done with football.
“I loved the game but I was burnt out. I loved the locker room, I loved being in the NFL except for playing, just so burnt out, I didn’t want to play anymore,” Officer Asiata told Behind the Badge. “I was happy that I got to retire on my own terms versus getting hurt or somebody firing me, telling me I couldn’t play anymore so I was very fortunate to go out the way that I did…When I retired and hung up my cleats I was trying to find something that I wanted to do that was more important than money, than monetary things you know.”
He decided to go from the offensive line to the thin blue line…and become a police officer.
“It was so in-line with everything I wanted that I was trying to do from a self-fulfillment standpoint,” he said. “I had such a big goal of going to the NFL and I did that and my next focus was ‘How am I going to help other people?’ to be a better person and find that self-fulfillment in service and you know, what better way than as a police officer?”
Now with shorter hair and about 100 pounds lighter than his playing days, Officer Asiata still carries a lot of weight around Provo where some Cougar fans recognize him from his three wins against BYU.
“I never lost,” he said with a laugh. “I’m undefeated in their stadium. That’s all I have to say.”
As a different kind of rookie, there are no more cheering crowds or big NFL paychecks but Isaac is still putting himself between people he protects and those who would potentially harm them.
“I think it’s just kind of an offensive lineman thing. It stems from my Mom who’s such a warm naturing mother bear,” Officer Asiata said. “I take a lot of pride in protecting my own and took a lot of pride in protecting quarterbacks. I take a lot of pride now in protecting the citizens I serve…A lot of the things you go through in football, they correlate very well as a police officer. It’s been great. I’m learning a lot, soaking in as much information as I can and just trying to be the best cop I can be.”
Officer Asiata recently tweeted a photo of the Provo Police Department logo with the line “The best job I ever had” and he tells Behind the Badge he wants to stay with the PPD for the rest of his career.
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