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Monday, May 19, 2014
Big Blue Morning: Berhe's unique roots

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Interesting story in the New York Post about Nat Berhe, the safety out of San Diego State who was one of the New York Giants' fifth-round picks in this year's draft. His father is a native of Eritrea who immigrated to the United States at age 20. And while Berhe himself has not been to Africa, he's clearly well aware and very proud of his heritage. Per Paul Schwartz:
“I’ll be the first Ethiopian player to play in the National Football League,” said Berhe (pronounced Bur-HEY). “That’s huge for me and huge for my family and huge for the people in Ethiopia. It’s a big feat. Not a lot of people from East Africa are in the National Football League. I look at it all the same, Ethiopia, Eritrea, it’s all the same, just different name.”

A list of the most famous Eritrean athletes contains almost exclusively long-distance runners such as Ali Abdallah, Nebiat Habtemariam and Simret Sultan. Meb Keflezighi last month won the Boston marathon and is an Eritrean refugee who went to UCLA. Thomas Kelati, an American-born basketball player from Washington State of Eritrean heritage, was once with the Lakers in training camp and plays professionally in Europe.

Berhe, a California native who has never visited Africa, but plans to do so in the near future, has also posted on Twitter: “Shout out to my Habesha [those residing in the Horn of Africa] people, much love and respect. Will make you proud.”

The Giants are having one of those offseason media availability days Tuesday. The last time they had one, a couple of weeks ago, they brought out 19 players for interviews. So I imagine we'll get a chance to meet and chat with Berhe and the other Giants rookies tomorrow. Meantime, I thought you'd find Paul's story interesting. Assuming Berhe makes the roster (and there's little reason to think he won't), he's a guy you could see making plays for the Giants in the fall, on special teams if not yet on defense.