Deuce Lutui will become a U.S. citizen today

Deuce Lutui will cap off what has been an otherwise difficult offseason by becoming a United States citizen today in an Oath of Allegiance ceremony.

It will be an emotional event for Lutui, who came to the U.S. with his family from Tonga when he was a baby. He’ll become the first member of his family to gain citizenship, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, and Lutui’s father passed away late last season when he was completing the classes necessary to gain citizenship.

Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt granted Lutui occasional time to miss practice to attend functions necessary to make this day possible.

“I wish (my father) was alive for this," Lutui told Somers. "I'm accomplishing one of his goals."

But Lutui declined to speak with Somers about other events from the offseason, including his contract status and a recent report that his weight had ballooned to 396 pounds. The guard has lost a starting job after the team signed Alan Faneca. Lutui missed the entire voluntary offseason workout program. He finally signed a tender as a restricted free agent for $1.76 million, and also made a switch of agents.

It’s a significant step for Lutui and will provide him with much, including peace of mind.

"I'm not a citizen and I'm driving, knowing at any given time I could be questioned and thinking, 'Oh, freak, where is my green card?'

"I'm going to throw that green card away. It feels good to have that weight off my shoulders. I've been waiting a long time. I understand both sides, of how to do it right and also being a non-citizen. But, hey, I still play for 'Los Cardenales.' "

And later this month he’ll need to report for training camp in shape and ready to prove himself.

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