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Haitian upbringing key in Fanor’s NFL journey

Posted Jun 30, 2012

Chiefs rookie Jean Fanor was robbed on his daily trek to elementary school and recently lost a family member in Haiti’s devastating earthquake, but credits the country for his football success


#42 Jean Fanor —Defensive Back — Bethune-Cookman

Before Kansas City:

Fanor (6-1, 200 lbs.) played in 37 games for the Wildcats, starting 22 of them over the course of his four-year career. He notched three career interceptions with 13 passes defensed. He also forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles at Bethune-Cookman. During his first season at safety (2009-2010), he helped the defense lead the nation in third down efficiency in the FCS. He redshirted in 2010 because of a foot injury.

Must-See Statistic:  

Fanor used to be a two-way player at Bethune-Cookman who played wide receiver and running back in addition to cornerback. He averaged 18.2 yards per catch before becoming a full-time defensive back in 2009. He also caught one touchdown during his brief stint as a wideout.

Chiefs Nation Should Know:

In Haiti, Jean Fanor was robbed on his way to school every day. The muggers would take everything he had—even what little lunch money his parents could spare. If he ran, they could catch him. Fanor quickly learned to fight back if he wanted to eat that day.

That fight-or-flight mentality he learned in Haiti translated well to the football field when Fanor moved to Miami (Fla.) when he was ten years old. Like Haitian-born NFL stars Jason Pierre-Paul, Pierre Garcon and others, Fanor had limited football experience before he moved to the U.S., but quickly became a star on the field—first at North Miami High School, and then as a member of the Bethune-Cookman (Fla.) Wildcats.

Now a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, Fanor is honored to try and become another player with Haitian roots on an NFL roster.

“Being one of the one percent to make it out of Haiti and play,” said Fanor, “That’s a blessing.”

During winter break of his junior year, Fanor returned to Haiti and remembered how lucky he was to leave.  The abject poverty of the country was hard for Fanor to see again, especially when his opportunities in the U.S. had afforded him a college scholarship.

Two weeks after that visit, Haiti was decimated by a catastrophic 7.0-magnitude earthquake that killed an estimated 316,000 people.

In the aftermath of one of the deadliest earthquakes ever recorded, Fanor thought he lost two cousins and an aunt.

“It struck close to home for me,” said Fanor. “Two weeks earlier and that could’ve been me, and my mom.  Instead, it was my family.”

Fanor learned in the following weeks that his aunt and one of his cousins were safe. But Fanor lost his other cousin in the earthquake—and loss serves as a stark reminder of how lucky he is to have made it to Kansas City.

“When I got to college, the NFL was the last thing on my mind,” said Fanor. “It’s truly a blessing to be here.”

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