No one in the NFL runs harder than Isiah Pacheco, and every time the Kansas City Chiefs running back carries the ball he's honoring his family and fallen siblings.
The 24-year-old has blossomed in the Kansas City backfield ever since the team drafted him out of Rutgers. But the seventh-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft has overcome a lot to get to where he is today. His brother, Travoise Cannon, and his sister, Celeste Cannon, were murdered less than two years apart before he headed off to college.
The tragedies may have fueled his greatness and the anger with which he runs. When he takes the field at Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas against the San Francisco 49ers, he'll have a chance to honor them like he did when the Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.
The Deaths of Isiah Pacheco's Siblings
Pacheco is the youngest of Felicia Cannon's five children.
He was still playing at New Jersey's Vineland High School when his 29-year-old older brother, Travoise Cannon, was stabbed to death on Jan. 10, 2016, in Bridgeton, N.J. He was allegedly stabbed in the torso by his 21-year-old roommate, Ronald Foster. Foster was indicted on charges of aggravated manslaughter and weapons offenses in February 2017.
That same year, Pacheco's older sister, Celeste Cannon, was 24 when she was shot to death by Donald Scurry Jr. in her home in Millville, N.J. Celeste was a mother of three and shared a son with Scurry, who is serving 65 years in prison for the murder.
Pacheco watched police take Celeste's body from her home, according to The Press of Atlantic City.
He spoke to NJ.com in 2019 about losing his brother and sister, who was like his best friend.
"My brother, if he was to see me here, he'd be shocked," he said. "He encouraged me to play football as a kid and he never got the opportunity to see me play. Having an opportunity to play ball, it helps me a lot not worrying about the tragedies that happened. It makes me want to go harder."
Isiah Pacheco rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs #SBLVII victory. His 10-yard run on third and one was also key to their game-winning drive. Pacheco speaks openly about adversity & losing his two older siblings. I asked him how that adversity fuels his game ?? pic.twitter.com/pG4jvST4vE
— Carita Parks (@CaritaCParks) February 13, 2023
Year after the tragedies, Pacheco uses his hardships as motivation. He's rushed for more than 1,700 yards through his first two seasons, and he already has one Super Bowl ring.
And every time he takes the field he honors Travoise and Celeste with tattoos of them on his arm.
"I play football for them," he told NJ.com.
Pacheco is certainly making his mark on the game, and he plays every down like it's his last. For someone who knows life can be cut short in an instant, he has no other choice.
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