First Zimbabwean to play in NFL claims he used to hunt squirrels

First Zimbabwean to play in NFL claims he used to hunt squirrels
Published: 08 August 2015 (1853 Views)
American football linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons Stansly Maponga had a big adjustment to make.

"Just…shoes, I'd say that," said Maponga. "I didn't have shoes growing up."

The third-year Falcons linebacker has a hazardous occupation, taking on 300-plus pound offensive linemen who will do anything in their power to keep him off their quarterback.

Maponga, however, has some perspective: he grew up in Zimbabwe, a country in southern Africa, living there until he was 9 years old.

"I grew up in it," said Maponga. "Knowing what I know now, it wasn't safe."

Maponga is the first ever NFL player from Zimbabwe - a point of pride. He has many positive memories of growing up in Africa, but many were challenging.

"Back home, kids grow up a lot quicker because you have to go look for food and stuff like that," said Maponga. "[I hunted for] mostly deer, squirrel. Also rabbits, too."

In his third season out of Texas Christian University, Maponga is looking to expand his role in Atlanta and solidify his spot on the team; for himself and his career, yes, but also to put himself in a better position to be able to give back to kids in Zimbabwe.

"Donate shoes, clothes, food all that type of stuff," said Maponga. "It didn't really sink in until my mom really let me know what was going on [in Zimbabwe]. I can really change lives back home."

The former fifth round pick has appeared in 24 games during his first two seasons, registering eight total tackles.

Listed as 6'2, 265 pounds, Maponga is listed as a linebacker on the roster, but played mostly defensive line during Wednesday's 11-on-11 drills at training camp.

"The initial thing that jumps off with Stansly is when we put him outside at defensive end, he has real quickness to go," said Falcons head coach Dan Quinn.

"He's really improving. He's a guy who works extremely hard. as we feature him, we're trying to find the best pass rush spot for him. That's what we're featuring with him during camp."

From Zimbabwe to the NFL, Maponga is proud of his journey so far and is excited about what's to come: on the field and how he can help off of it.

"I think about it, man," said Maponga, "I came a long way."


- Fox Atlanta.com

Tags: NFL, ,
 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

There is Logic in Political Strategy

by Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo | 24 June 2019 | 102 Views

Smuggling: the new corruption frontier in Zimbabwe

by Victor Bhoroma | 24 June 2019 | 93 Views

WATCH: 'Nothing has changed,' says Mthuli Ncube

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 128 Views

10 Implications of de-dollarization and introduction of the Zim dollar

by Tapiwa Mashakada and Miriam Mushayi | 24 June 2019 | 168 Views

WATCH: ZANU PF Youths declare war

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 134 Views

ZANU PF suspends Obert Mpofu

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 188 Views

Joice Mujuru speaks out

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 177 Views

Zimbabwe bans use of US Dollar and Rand

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 222 Views

Jonathan Moyo says Mthuli Ncube must be stripped off degree

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 191 Views

Evidence that Shonas arrived in Zimbabwe 300 years ago (1700's)

by Ndzimu-unami Emmanuel Moyo, PMP | 24 June 2019 | 155 Views

ED full speech at AU - UN summit in Vic Falls

by President ED Mnangagwa | 24 June 2019 | 115 Views

ZESA plunges Lobengula into darkness for 2 months

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 117 Views

Massive demonstrations against Mthuli Ncube planned

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 168 Views

Mthuli Ncube bans use of US Dollar and Rand

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 262 Views

Jonathan Moyo says Mthuli Ncube must be stripped of degree

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 210 Views

Chiwenga and Mnangagwa's fight reaches boiling point

by Itai Mushekwe | 24 June 2019 | 326 Views

Police arrest Harare drug syndicate

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 164 Views

Chamisa condemns Ethiopia coup attempts

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 161 Views

Mthuli Ncube engages journalists

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 146 Views

Zim Dollar back?

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 190 Views

Mthuli Ncube speaks of Zim dollar imminence

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 202 Views

The civil servants problem

by Clemen Moyo | 24 June 2019 | 141 Views

Mnangagwa poisoning; new details emerge

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 239 Views

Mthuli Ncube criminalises use of US Dollar and Rand

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 168 Views

Jilted man jailed for setting mother-in-law's house ablaze

by Simbarashe Sithole | 24 June 2019 | 114 Views

Another soldier in the suspected armed robbery nabbed

by Simbarashe Sithole | 24 June 2019 | 164 Views

Mnangagwa to open EU-UN Wildlife Economy Summit

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 122 Views

Zimbabwe has enough forex, says Chamisa

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 166 Views

US tells Mnangagwa to stop interfering with trade unions

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 146 Views

Civil servants get pay rise

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 196 Views

Nurses call off strike

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 115 Views

Arrest thieving Zifa officials

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 141 Views

Byo residents up in arms with Zesa

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 98 Views

WATCH: Malawi Army steps in

by Mandla Ndlovu | 24 June 2019 | 178 Views

MDC blasts war veterans

by Simbarashe Sithole | 24 June 2019 | 92 Views

Zanu PF youths warned against abusing Mnangagwa's name

by Staff Reporter | 24 June 2019 | 89 Views

Zimbabwe has so far paid $53m to former white farmers

by Staff reporter | 24 June 2019 | 73 Views