By NAN Sports Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 14, 2016: Haitian- Americans are very much a part of NFL teams today and several are definitely keeping the homeland of their parents in mind or trying to help through their own networks as Haiti again tries to pick up the pieces from the devastation brought on by Hurricane Matthew. Here are 10 NFL players today who are of Haitian roots:
Thirty-two-year-old Elvis Dumervil is an outside linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens. The five-time Pro Bowler was born in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood to Haitian immigrant parents. Dumervil played college football at the University of Louisville where he was recognized as a unanimous All-American. He was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. On March 24, 2013, Dumervil agreed to a 5-year-deal with the Baltimore Ravens worth $35 million, including $8.5 million in the first year of the deal. Dumervil is currently funding a project to build 58 new homes in Haiti and has partnered with a San Francisco charity to help and see more families move into hurricane resilient homes in this poverty-stricken Caribbean nation. His net worth is put at around 10 million.
Pierre Garcon, the wide receiver for the Washington Redskins, was born in New York to Haitian immigrant parents from Leogene, Haiti, a town near Port au Prince. Garçon, 30, started his college career at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. Wanting to play in a more football oriented program, he transferred to Mount Union College in the Ohio Athletic Conference. Garçon was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft with the 205th overall pick. On March 13, 2012, Garçon signed a five-year $42.5 million, $20.5 million guaranteed, contract with the Washington Redskins. He was the Redskins’ first free agent signing for the 2012 season. Garcon’s Helping Hands Foundation is focused on helping to provide long-term sustainable initiatives that will continue to positively influence the lives of Haitians. Currently, the Foundation is establishing relationships with organizations that are looking to give Haitians a new beginning by developing shelter, establishing education and provide hope. Garcon has an estimated net worth of $26 million.
The defensive end for the Washington Red Skins – Ricky Jean-Francois – is also Haitian American. Jean-Francois, 29, was born to Haitian parents in Miami. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft, and played college football at Louisiana State University. He has also played for the Indianapolis Colts. Jean Francois signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Washington Redskins on February 26, 2015.
Both Garcon and Jean Francois were sent to Haiti with a plane full of medical supplies on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016 after leading the Redskins with 56 receiving yards and scored the team’s lone touchdown in a 16-10 win on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Jean Francois’ net worth is put at over USD 13 million.
Junior Galette, 28, was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and today is an outside linebacker for the Washington Redskins. Galette’s parents left the Caribbean for the United States when he was still an infant in search of a better life. They eventually raised enough money to bring Galette and his two older brothers over to New York. He graduated from Division II Stillman College in Tuscaloosa and was initially signed by the New Orleans Saints. But he was let go on July 24, 2015. Days later, on July 31, 2015, he signed a one-year contract with the Washington Redskins. He missed the entire 2015 season due to injury and while he re-signed with the Redskins on another one-year contract on March 15, 2015, this July it was announced that Galette had tore his right Achilles tendon and would also miss the entire 2016 season. His net worth is put at over USD 3 million.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Govan Bernard was born in West Palm Beach, Florida to Haitian immigrant parents who own a dry cleaning business in Boca Raton, Florida. Bernard was recruited by many schools and first committed to Notre Dame but ultimately decided on the University of North Carolina. He was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft to a four-year, $5.25 million contract, with a $2.2 million signing bonus and $3.2 million guaranteed. Bernard’s RUN GIO Foundation aims to provide children of Haiti with an opportunity for a quality education. It was inspired by his mother. Bernard has an estimated net worth of US $3 million.
New York Giants Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was born in Deerfield Beach, Florida to Haitian immigrants who arrived in the United States in 1983. He played college football for the University of South Florida and was picked by the Giants in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. On July 4, 2015, Pierre-Paul, 27, sustained a serious hand injury in a fireworks accident at his home, and four days later he had his right index finger amputated. On March 8th, 2016, Pierre-Paul turned down a better offer from the Arizona Cardinals to stay with the Giants on a 1-year deal worth $10.5 million. His foundation, The Little Lighthouse Foundation, assists children and families in South Florida who struggle with educational, financial, and medical hardships. He has an estimated net worth of US$4.9 million.
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril was born in Jacksonville, Florida to Haitian parents. Avril, 30, played college football at Purdue and was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft. On March 13, 2013, Avril signed a two-year, $13 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks. He has teamed up with Elvis Dumervil of the Baltimore Ravens to help raise money to build homes for families in Haiti through the San Francisco charity, New Story. Avril has an estimated net worth of US $10 million.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is now a cornerback for the New York Giants after playing for the Arizona Cardinals as the 16th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Rodgers-Cromartie, 30, was born in Florida to Haitian parents. He spent three years with the Cardinals before being signed in 2011 by the Philadelphia Eagles and in 2013 by the Denver Broncos. On March 17, 2014, Rodgers-Cromartie signed a five-year deal with the New York Giants. His foundation, the Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Foundation, supports “underprivileged youth with the resources and tools needed to; excel in education and athletics, and develop strong life skills to become productive citizens in the community.” Rodgers-Cromartie has an estimated net worth of $22 million.
Whitney Mercilus is a Haitian descent outside linebacker for the Houston Texans. He played college football for the University of Illinois and was recognized as a unanimous All-American. He was selected by the Texans in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and was considered one of the best defensive end prospects for 2012. Mercilus, 26, was born in Akron, Ohio. On May 4, 2015, Mercilus signed a four-year, $26 million contract extension with $10.5 million guaranteed. Through his WithMerci foundation, Mercilus provides advocate services and support to the families of children with disabilities and special needs. His net worth is estimated at USD 3.5 million.
Mackensie Alexander, born to Haitian parents in Naples, Florida, is the football cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings. The 22-year-old was drafted by the Vikings in the second round, 54th overall of the 2016 NFL Draft. On May 5, 2016, Alexander was signed to a four-year, $4.3 million contract with a $1.34 million signing bonus with the Vikings. His net worth is estimated at over USD 450,000.