Tui back in the fold

SEATTLE - It wasn't surprising to see Marques Tuiasosopo at Washington's first fall practice on Monday. After all, he had been with the players during informal workouts, staying sharp with another former Washington quarterback looking for a job in the NFL, Damon Huard.

Seeing him working with the players during their warmups was a bit unusual until the news had been announced; Marques Tuiasosopo had been hired by the Huskies to be one of their assistants in the weight room. Under the eye of Ivan Lewis, Tuiasosopo will learn about life as a coach and whether or not that means something to him after his playing days are through. But because of NCAA rules, he can't coach anyone on the field.

"It feels great to be here," Tuiasosopo said Monday. "I love this place. To be back here is like a dream come true. My alma mater, I'd love to see them do well. It's great to see coach Sark here and the energy that he brings and the staff that he put together. It reminds me of when I played here and the coaches that coached me. I'm very excited."

Tuiasosopo, while working for the Huskies, will have the added benefit of being able to work out, stay sharp, and stay in the game he knows he can still play at the highest level.

"It's something I'm taking a look at," he said. "I love the sport and have a passion for the kids here. But I feel young. I'm fresh. I'd still love to play. If something were to open up, that's what I want to do. I've still got the bug."

He was released by the Oakland Raiders after the 2008 season, his second stint with the club after an injury-plagued season with the New York Jets. During his first stay, current Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian was Oakland's quarterbacks coach.

"He's a great motivator," Sarkisian said. "He's been a championship player at this level and at this program. To get him around our guys in the weight room and the conditioning work is exciting."

Expect Tuiasosopo to drop it all when he gets that call, but until then the Huskies will be able to soak in all his knowledge and leadership, the same kind of intangibles that helped the Dawgs win a Rose Bowl title in 2001.

"We have a great strength staff, and whatever they need me to do, I'm willing to do," he said.

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