Mohamed Sanu, a wide receiver for the U.S. National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons, is focusing this offseason on getting a home constructed for his mother, who currently lives in Sierra Leone. “My mom is very humble, doesn’t ask for much. Whatever she does, I’m there for her. But she’s grateful for whatever I’m there for. She’s just amazing, and proud of me for accomplishing my dreams and my goals,” was how Sanu described his mother’s influence on his life. The matriarch of the Sanu family left Sierra Leone in 1975 for New Jersey in hopes for a better life. However, despite the ongoing civil war in her country, she returned in the mid-1990s with her two children, Mohamed and older sister Jabbie. His mother would stay behind when the children left for New Jersey later in life.
It was in New Jersey where Mohamed Sanu began cultivating his interest in American football. He recalls a time where an NFL player brought a Super Bowl ring to show the class, and how that sparked his desire to reach the pros. Since entering the NFL in 2012, he has developed into a versatile possession receiver that was a nice addition to the high-powered Falcons offense that reached the Super Bowl last year, before the defense collapsed to the New England Patriots. During the media exposure that he got as a Super Bowl player in February, he took any opportunity he could to talk about his mother’s cassava leaves and fufu, common Sierra Leonean dishes he misses from his homeland.
He will soon take part in Falcons training camp for the upcoming season, and he goes into the preseason as the Falcons’ number two receiver, provided he can hold off one-year wonder Taylor Gabriel in camp. Julio Jones is the undisputed top receiver in Atlanta, but Sanu is expected to be on the field for at least two thirds of the offensive snaps, just as he was last season.