Fanaika had to walk onto the football team at Arizona State University.
Despite being named the Ocean Division Lineman of the Year as a senior at Mills High School in Millbrae, California, Fanaika had to try out to make the 2004 Arizona State football team.
According to the Arizona Republic, he ended up making the team as a scout-team lineman, and five years later, he left with the second-most starts among his senior class.
Andy Reid selected Fanaika and new Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in the same Philadelphia Eagles draft class.
Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles selected both Fanaika and Maclin in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Reid drafted Maclin with the 19th overall pick in the first round, and six rounds later, with pick number 213, he chose Fanaika.
Although Fanaika would never play in a regular season game for the Eagles, it's safe to say that there was something Reid liked about him coming out of Arizona State.
Photos of the Chiefs offensive lineman Paul Fanaika
Fanaika spent time with four different organizations before starting in his first regular season game.
Fanaika bounced around the league—specifically with the Eagles (2009), Redskins (2009), Browns (2010) and Seahawks (2010-2011)—before garnering 30 starts for the Arizona Cardinals from 2013 to 2014.
When Fanaika wasn't sure about his future in football, he began to train to be a fireman.
In an Arizona Republic article from 2013, Fanaika speaks about his time riding along with the Glendale Fire Department.
"It was a real fun and neat experience," Fanaika said. "It's something that was always in the back of my mind, especially when I was a kid. Some people want to be cops or whatever. I wanted to be a fireman."
That notion would change when Fanaika earned another opportunity in the NFL at an Arizona Cardinals tryout before the beginning of the 2013 season.
Fanaika said that as a lineman, he regards "technique" as the most important element.
"I pride myself in the technique," he said after signing with the Chiefs. "My attention to detail when it comes to technique, my ability to move guys off the ball—my overall play as a lineman."