Coming from a war-torn nation, Hali had to defy heavy odds to even suit up in the red and white.
When thinking of athletes that have overcome things, some may have fallen in the draft or had injury setbacks. For defensive end Tamba Hali, his story began with a much more daunting path to the NFL.
In his home country of Liberia, a civil war was waging on when Hali was a child. Around 250,000 people died in the conflict, according to BBC.
Hali had to flee his home country in pursuit of safety and opportunity. However, he would be leaving behind his mother as he came to the United States.
In high school, he would be listed as a four-star athlete on Rivals. After gaining offers from across the country, Hali decided to play collegiately at Penn State University.
In 2005, Hali recorded 11 sacks and was able to create enough buzz to enter the 2006 NFL Draft. Despite not being projected in the first round, the Chiefs took a chance and drafted him with the 20th pick.
Hali was an immediate contributor for the Chiefs. His rookie season saw him have eight sacks, five forced fumbles, and an interception, according to Pro Football Reference. That performance landed Hali on the 2006 NFL All-Rookie Team.
Over the course of his career, Hali was a playmaker by definition. In his decade long career, he caused 33 fumbles, which accounts for over one fumble per game over two whole regular seasons. That places Hali second on the Chiefs all time only behind the late Derrick Thomas.
Along with forcing fumbles, Hali was a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. With 89.5 total sacks, pressuring and getting to the opposing quarterback was always a threat when Hali suited up. Again, Hali saw himself placed behind Thomas in this category.
This success granted Hali high honors within the league. He was named a second-team All-Pro in 2011 and 2013, and Hali represented the AFC in the Pro Bowl five consecutive times.
Hali’s story is certainly one of resilience, coming from the war-driven nation of Liberia. Hali was able to seize his opportunity when he arrived in America to become one of the greatest pass rushers in Chiefs history.