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Pack’s Peprah embraces Ghana roots all the way to NFL

Safety Charlie Peprah, a first-generation Ghanaian, hopes to make the second start  (Associated Press)
Safety Charlie Peprah, a first-generation Ghanaian, hopes to make the second start (Associated Press)

He has started only one game since entering the league in 2006, so Charlie Peprah is something of a mystery man to Green Bay Packers fans and certainly to opponents.

With Peprah in the mix to start Sunday’s game at Washington because of injuries at safety, the story of how he got here is even more intriguing.

Peprah’s grandfather, I.K. Acheampong, rose to power as the head of state in the West African nation of Ghana in 1972. He was removed from office in a coup, then executed in 1979. The family fled to Europe, then the U.S., where Peprah was born and raised in Texas.

He played high school football in Texas, then college football at Alabama, and was taken by the New York Giants in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. He was released and picked up by the Packers, where he played mostly on special teams and started one game in 2008.

Peprah said his family’s story is real to him, even though he was born after the most traumatic part of it.

“You know, I didn’t get to meet my grandfather, so from that aspect, there’s a little bit of a disassociation of emotional ties,” Peprah said. “But knowing what my mom went through and the whole journey she took and where we’re at because of all that is very real. It affected how I was raised, why I was brought up the way I was and where I was, so it’s something we talk about all the time.”

Randy Moss has returned to where it all began.

Wearing his familiar purple No. 84 jersey, the star receiver practiced with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, a day after he was acquired from the New England Patriots in a trade his new team hopes will get them right back in the Super Bowl conversation.

Moss spent his first seven seasons in Minnesota, emerging as the best deep threat in the league. He was traded to Oakland in 2005 and spent the last three seasons with the Patriots before being dealt back to the Vikings on Wednesday.

Around the league

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will sit out Sunday’s game at Carolina because of a concussion. Bears spokesman Scott Hagel said Cutler was examined by the team and independent doctors after practicing on a limited basis earlier in the week. … Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden sat out his third straight practice with a sore hamstring and is almost certain to miss Sunday’s game against San Diego. Michael Bush, off to a slow start after missing the first two games with a broken left thumb, handled the majority of reps in practice and will likely start against the Chargers. … Browns running back Peyton Hillis was added to Cleveland’s injury report with an unspecified thigh injury.