Lathrop Football Alum Inducted Into Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

Second NFL player to earn distinction
Updated: Dec. 7, 2022 at 8:30 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - For the second time in history, an individual with an NFL career will be inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame, and he’ll be the first from the interior. Reggie Tongue, who played high school football for the Lathrop Malemutes went on to play NCAA Division I football and ten seasons in the National Football League.

“It’s kind of hard to explain in words,” stated Tongue. “It’s a huge honor. I’m very humbled, and appreciative of everyone that remembered me. I’m very thankful to be mentioned in the same sentence as the other Olympians, mushers, and other athletes.”

Following a successful high school career as a running back and defensive back including Alaska Player of the Year in 1990, Tongue continued his playing career as a member of the Oregon State Beavers. One of his biggest collegiate accolades was tying the PAC-10 single-season interception returned for touchdown record in 1994 (three TD’s). Tongue remains the second-most leading tackler in Beavers history accounting for 363 combined tackles.

“I mean, it was always a dream,” said Tongue on playing in the NFL. “Ever since I was in Maryland at seven or eight years old. It was always a thought in the back of my mind. I just told myself to show up everyday and see what happens.”

In the 1996 NFL Draft, Tongue was selected in the second round, 58th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. Tongue’s career spanned 10 NFL seasons, with the Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, and Oakland Raiders. Tongue is still the leads Alaskan football players in the NFL with tackles (676), touchdowns (5), and interceptions (17).

“I don’t like to really take too much of the credit,” Tongue humbly added. “I just tried to stay out of trouble and keep it simple, but I did have a lot of help. I don’t get to this point without a ton of help, not only from family, but also people outside my family who made sure I got an opportunity, filled the paperwork out right, made sure I stayed on path at pretty much every level.”

Now, Tongue lives in Texas. He spends most of his time in the fall, travelling the country to watch his son, Makiya, follow in his football footsteps. Makiya is a redshirt sophomore at his father’s alma mater, Oregon State.

“To be a part of something that very few people are a part of is just humbling,” Tongue concluded.

He is the second NFL player inducted behind Service’s Mark Schlereth. Tongue will join Jessica Moore (Palmer/WNBA), and Joe Floyd (Kodiak Athletics) as the three individuals in the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023.