L'Jarius Sneed is one of the most physically dominant cornerbacks in the NFL, and he's a big reason why the Kansas City Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl.
Whether it's punching the ball out of Zay Flowers' hands to save a touchdown or bullying Tyreek Hill off the line of scrimmage, the 27-year-old simply makes plays all over the field that don't go unnoticed.
Sneed's journey to the NFL has been an incredible one. Coming out of Mooringsport, La., he was a three-star recruit with one offer from Louisiana Tech. He transitioned from wide receiver to defensive back and was eventually taken in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Chiefs.
But it's Sneed's family history and upbringing that makes his story a triumphant one. From multiple family members spending time in prison to his brother's murder in 2021, Sneed has overcome adversity every step of his life — and the pinnacle was winning his first Super Bowl agains the Philadelphia Eagles, after which he celebrated with his son, Kyson Edwards.
Sneed, now a father to two kids after his second child and first daughter was just born a few days ago, is a role model who doesn't forget his past or give up on his loved ones.
Sneed's Brother Was Murdered in 2021
In December 2021, Sneed took a leave of absence from the Chiefs when his brother, T'Qarontarion Harrison, was stabbed to death in Minden, La.
Harrison, who was 32 when he died, has been credited by Sneed as the one who raised him growing up because their parents were in and out of prison. According to KMBC News, a 47-year-old woman named Angela Washington was charged with second-degree homicide and a large kitchen knife was recovered at the scene.
Harrison attempted to drive himself to the hospital but crashed into the building and was taken to another medical center. He died after emergency surgery.
The death left Sneed a mess.
While Sneed told the Kansas City Star he lived with his grandmother in Section 8 housing growing up, it was Harrison who made sure he was fed and changed his diapers. He also ironed his clothes and walked Sneed to school every morning.
When Sneed returned to the Chiefs after missing two games, he used football as a way to take his mind off everything going on in his life.
"I wouldn't say it's hard to play football because football takes my mind off things like that," Sneed told reporters. "That's why I love the game of football because it takes my mind of what's really going on in my life."
Devastating news for Chiefs CB L?Jarius Sneed and his family. A woman has been arrested in connection to the fatal stabbing of TQ Harrison, the older brother of Sneed. Heartbreaking for L?Jarius and his family. https://t.co/bBO37JQA7V
— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) December 11, 2021
In the wake of the death, Sneed began to honor his brother by wearing gloves donning the initials "LLTQ," for "Long Live TQ," and wore his brother's undershirt beneath his jersey.
Sneed's mother, Jane Mims-Sneed, was particularly affected when she lost her son. After Washington pleaded not guilty, she told KTBS she was hoping for justice.
"This is very painful and people say time heals. Well, I learned a different perspective. You never get over a loss especially when it is your child — someone from your own womb," Jane said.
"Love covers a multitude of sins, yet the Lord gives justice for crimes such as the one happened to my son. In cases like this, both family lose. My prayer is that justice will be served accordingly to the law. My prayer is for her that she will turn her life over to God and find peace within. I've placed her in the hands of the Lord," she said.
"My son TQ was a son with much respect. He loved his family and was always somewhat of a provider for the family. Throughout his life, TQ worked with an energetic spirit. He was close to his mom — we had a mother/son relationship that never folded. I was his mom, prayer partner, teacher, friend mechanic. Whatever I had to be for my children I was ... I'm that kind of mom."
As for Jane "Mama" Sneed and Sneed's father, Non Sneed, the two of them both spent many years in prison while Sneed was growing up.
A Family History of Incarceration
Sneed told the Kansas City Star that his first memories of his parents were visiting them in prison.
When Sneed was born in January 1997, Non Sneed was already in prison. He wound up serving 17 years for attempted murder after he "ignited a shootout with one of Jane's ex-boyfriends" and one of his bullets struck his target in the arm.
And in April 1998, Jane was arrested after a fight that led to her cutting two people with a knife. According to online court documents, she also had a previous record that included an arrest in 1991 for two counts of battery plus simple battery convictions in 1992, 1993 and 1994.
"I was in prison for five years. I left L'Jarius at a young age, with his older brother who is now deceased," Jane told KSLA ahead of Super Bowl LVIII.
Then there's Sneed's grandfather, Bobby Sneed. He served 47 years in prison for his role in a botched robbery, according to Reason Magazine:
In 1975, Sneed was sentenced to life behind bars for his role in a botched robbery, during which one of his accomplices murdered a man he was burglarizing. Though Sneed was blocks away from the killing, he was convicted of principal to commit second-degree murder and, until last month, was the only one still incarcerated of the six involved in the crime.
After being illegally imprisoned for nine or so months, he was finally released in 2022.
The 75-year-old Bobby told the magazine he looked forward to spending time with his family, notably his grandkids that he had never met. And of course, finally getting to see the grandson who plays for the Chiefs take the field.
"I have a lot of grandkids that I don't even know yet, and I just want to put all of this behind me," Sneed said. "The rest of the time I got on this earth I'm going to spend it with my family."
Sneed's Heart Always Has a Place For Family
When Sneed got his first big paycheck in the NFL, he bought Jane a four-bedroom, three-bath house in their hometown of Minden, La. It was a Christmas gift to his mother.
"JJ told me to go to the house and they'd show me around inside not knowing it was the same house I'd been looking at," Jane told the Shreveport Times. "The realtor opened the door, turned around and told me it was mine, then handed me the key. I get happy just thinking about it."
L'Jarius has also given back to his dad. Though Non Sneed divorced Jane upon his prison release and moved to Dallas when L'Jarius was 12, he didn't cut communication from him. Now, Non works as L'Jarius's nutritionist and chef. He's on Instagram, too, where he posts inspirational quotes and the occasional photo with his son.
Sneed has a chance to win his second Super Bowl Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas' Allegiant Stadium. He's set to become a free agent after this season, meaning a big pay day is coming.
He may just be playing football, but as Sneed's mother puts it, he broke the "generational curse."
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