Above: Ricky Jean Francois
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Last year, it was the New York Giants’ Jason-Pierre Paul.
Now, it’s Ricky Jean-Francois.
For the second straight year, a defensive lineman for the NFC champions is of Haitian descent.
The 6’3” Jean-Francois, a Haitian-American nose tackle who was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, makes his Super Bowl debut Sunday after a season in which he recorded two sacks and 22 tackles in 16 games.
Jean-Francois, a Miami native, helped drive fundraising for relief efforts in Haiti following the the earthquake in January 2010. (In fact, Baltimore Ravens special teamer Brendon Ayanbadejo also helped persuade his teammates in 2010 to raise money for Doctors Without Borders’ work in Haiti.)
And for Jean-Francois, Haiti remains very much on his mind in New Orleans.
“Shout to all my #Haitians around the league an everywhere else,” he wrote on Twitter ahead of the game. “I love my country #Haiti this for you.”
Of course, Jean-Francois is even better known to the locals in New Orleans after starring for Louisiana State University.
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Haiti is not alone among Caribbean nations represented in Sunday’s game.
As Caribbean Journal noted last week, Barbados’ Ramon Harewood is the first player from Barbados to play in a Super Bowl.