If you have enough talent and passion for football, you can make it in the NFL, though some paths to a roster are certainly more well-worn than others. Chicago Bears second-year strong safety Harold Jones-Quartey’s road to the NFL was most unusual.
The 23-year-old grew up in a village in Ghana playing soccer before moving to the U.S. at age nine. He fell in love with football when his cousin told him that in football, he could hit the person with the ball. "I was like, ‘Say no more.’" the safety told the Chicago Tribune in a great story about his journey. He ended up on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad in 2015, undrafted out of a Division II football program you’ve probably never heard of: the University of Findlay in Ohio.
It appears that Jones-Quartey’s appetite for clobbering people developed like it did for Rob Gronkowski. Gronk grew up in a household of five boys that constantly brawled and toughened each other up.
Jones-Quartey recalls that in Ghana, where M&M’s were "like a treasure," his father used to dangle the candy as the prize for winning a race between him and his older brother Danny. Sometimes Harold would win the race and the treat, but not escape punishment.
"My brother would kick my ass," Jones-Quartey said. "And my dad would let him. He’d stand there and watch my brother beat my ass for winning. He wanted to instill that competitiveness in us early."
Not just any M&M’s, though. Peanut M&M’s.
And now the 5-foot-11, 210 pounder is among the harder hitting safeties roaming an NFL secondary.