The National Basketball Association is one of the sports where you can find players from different nationalities that compete for the same goal. The NFL continuity makes an effort to improve player diversity, and over the last couple of years, the sport has made a huge leap forward making it a competition for every nationality, color, or race.
In today’s article, we will focus on the best Latin American Stars that participated in the NFL or players with Hispanic heritage. The sport has a rich, albeit somehow limited history of Latino players climbing the top ranks of the competition. This slow trend of Latin American players in the NFL didn’t stop some individuals from becoming Hall of Famers and making a serious impact on the sport.
Antony Munoz is one of the greatest offensive linemen that ever played in the National Football League. He started to show his athletic spirit in Chaffey High School in Ontario, California, as well as his University days in Southern California.
He started his professional NFL career after being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, which was a bit of a gamble for the team’s cine he has been suffering from knee problems. However, he pursued his NFL dream and become a starter in his rookie season for the Bengals.
Despite his rough history with injuries, he only missed just three games during his first 12 seasons which is incredible. Throughout his career, he has become one of the greatest, if not the greatest, offensive linemen in NFL history.
Jim Plunkett was born to Mexican-American parents both born in New Mexico. They moved to California during World War II, and during this time Jim’s two older sisters had been born. Jim on the other hand was born when the family moved to Santa Clara and later moved to San Jose since they struggled for money.
Jim showed incredible athleticism during his college days, where the love for the sport was born. He started his NFL career after being picked in the NFL draft by the New England Patriots. At that time, he was the first player of Hispanic heritage to be drafted with the first overall pick in the NFL draft.
He spent four years in the New England Patriots after moving to the San Francisco 49ers and finishing his 15-year career in Los Angeles Raiders.
Throughout his career, he managed to win two Super Bowls and was awarded the Super Bowl MVP on one.
Thomas Jesse Fears is another Mexican player that has impacted the sport a lot. He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and moved to Los Angeles when he was six. To help his family with their tight money situation he started unloading flowers for 25 cents an hour, and later serving as an usher at football games for double that amount.
At that time, he began to display his ample work ethic, which pushed him to the big league. After learning more about the sport he started training and was rather good at it. Later down the road he was drafted by the Los Angeles rams and became the first Mexican-born player to be drafted in the NFL.
He spent eight years in the NFL after retiring. But the love for the sport never went away. A few years later he became a coach for the Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, and Southern California Sun.
Victor Michael Cruz is another NFL player with Latin American heritage from his Puerto Rican mother. He is not quite like the hall of Famers we mentioned before but had a great run in the NFL and something to be proud of for the rest of his life.
He started to showcase his skills in college with 47 catches, 869 yards, and eight touchdowns in a single season at Bridgton Academy.
The New York Giants spotted his potential and got him on the team. Throughout his time with the Giants, he helped them win 31-15 by catching six passes for 145 yards and getting three touchdowns. After six years with the Giants, he decided to move to the Chicago Bears in 2017 as a wide receiver.
Throughout his career, he managed to overcome the Super Bowl odds and win it, and reach the Pro Bowl in 2012. He had a great career in the NFL and thanks to his talent, he had the potential of becoming one of the all-time-greats. Unfortunately, too many injuries forced him to retire quicker from professional football.