The NFL is replete with stories of players coming from difficult backgrounds and making it big. Azur Kamara, though, took a journey like no other.
From fleeing a civil war in Ivory Coast to making it as a linebacker in the NFL, Kamara's story is one of perseverance, strength and triumph against all odds.
Azur Kamara: Ivory Coast's diamond
Azur Kamara came to the United States as a 10-year-old boy after his mother and stepfather fled the first Ivorian Civil War. The tale is as harrowing as it is inspiring.
When Azur Kamara was five, his mother took her children to Guinea to where their uncle lived. While he wasn't aware of it at the time, Azur Kamara later found out that it was to escape the civil war back home.
For the next half-decade, he would not see his mother again. He spent his life playing soccer and scavenging for food and water, but amidst all that was laughter. Despite that, there was always the nagging fear that his mother had abandoned him and his siblings.
Finally, one year, his uncle received a call from his mother that she was in the United States and trying to find a way to bring her children there to give them a better life. Azur Kamara and his siblings returned to Ivory Coast and waited a further three years before being reunited with their mother.
Azur Kamara: All the way to the NFL
Azur Kamara was always a tall and athletic kid. However, his first choice was always the game he played back home as a child: soccer.
In high school, when Azur Kamara was about to enroll for soccer practice, his life changed forever. The football coach noticed him and admonished him for wasting his talents on soccer when he was a much better fit for football.
In high school, he tallied 106 tackles and 25.5 sacks in his senior season despite only just taking up the sport. That got him to Arizona Western College, where his performances in his freshman and sophomore years caught the eye of various universities. He chose Kansas as his landing spot, and his performances there got him an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine.
The rest, as they say, is history. Azur Kamara is now a linebacker with the Dallas Cowboys and is looking to realize his full potential as the franchise looks to bounce back from an injury-riddled campaign. Kamara, though, will be in the thick of it all, battling through.