To say Isiah Pacheco wears his emotions on his sleeve would be an understatement.
All that rage and resiliency in his punishing runs for the Kansas City Chiefs doesn’t come from being underestimated in his 2022 NFL Draft class, where he fell to the seventh round. Nor does it come from having to work his way to start on a team already stockpiled in talent.
Pacheco’s angry runs were born out of personal family tragedy.
The Tragic Story of Isiah Pacheco’s Siblings
Pacheco saw tragedy in his native South Jersey in a span of nearly two years.
His brother Travoise was stabbed to death in his Bridgeton apartment on Jan. 10, 2016 at just 29 years old.
He wasn’t the only sibling who lost their life.
Pacheco’s sister Celeste was discovered with a gunshot wound to her head inside her home in Millville on Sept. 20, 2017.
Pacheco told NJ.com during a 2019 interview how close he was to both of his fallen siblings. He added how one of his siblings was instrumental in getting him to lace up the football cleats.
“(My sister) was like a best friend,’’ Pacheco said. “My brother, if he was to see me here, he’d be shocked. He encouraged me to play football as a kid, and he never got the opportunity to see me play here. 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.’’
Pacheco explained how his brother taught him how to ride his electric four-wheeler while adding, “he was always looking out for me.”
Celeste eventually took Travoise’s place as the go-to sibling. Pacheco even recalled watching her dancing skills while baking brownies with rap music in the background before she heated up the goodies.
“I still think about my sister to this day,’’ Pacheco said in that ’19 interview. “I miss her a lot. It’s very hard.’’
Her killer, Donald Scurry Jr., is currently serving a 65-year prison sentence.
How Pacheco Honors His Lost Siblings
Pacheco was often seen dropping to one knee and saying a prayer before he carried the ball for Rutgers.
That was to honor who he lost, and he continued, “And then I just put everything on the line for my family in the stands.”
Pacheco remains close to his faith. He’s often painted church crosses on his face before he joins Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Chris Jones, L’Jarius Sneed, and company.
He’s even around an important figure his sister left behind: His nephew, who has was introduced to football by Pacheco.
“My nephew, we’re trying to introduce him to football, and he was out here in the stands, and that brought a light to me,” Pacheco said. “But it’s sad thinking that my sister could be holding him right now.”
Now, nearly a decade after their deaths, Pacheco plays the game in their memory. It also explains the tattoo mural of his brother and sister on both of his arms.
MORE: Why Pacheco Runs So Hard
It also explains the resilient runs he pulls off — all in the name of making his brother and sister, plus his entire family, proud.
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