Found July 21, 2013 on
Football and Futbol:
The NFL has seen it’s fair share of Olympians turned football players. Some of them went on to have successful careers, while others faded due to lackluster performances. The 49ers might have found themselves a diamond in the rough with the signing of un-drafted free agent, former olympian Lawrence Okoye. While Okoye’s football career has just begun, his story still holds our interest because of how unique it is.
Lawrence Okoye was born and raised in Croydon, South London. He played rugby in school and on academy teams as a winger. Rugby is the closest related sport to football that he has played. Okoye is not just athletic, he is also highly intelligent. According to his Wikipedia profile, he has an offer to Oxford University of Law that he might pursue later on. After his successful stint with rugby, he decided to dedicate his efforts to competing in throwing the discus. He broke two British records for distance (one being his own that he set prior), and competed in the 2012 summer olympics. The results from his competition were not as stellar as his record breaking distances were that he achieved at the U23 championships.
Okoye’s decision to play American football caught the interest of a number of NFL teams. Shortly after the draft, Okoye was signed by the San Francisco 49ers. There might be a heavy risk in signing an athlete who has zero experience with football, but there is also a possibility of high reward if his impressive combination of athleticism and brains can get him to be successful at the NFL level. Built like the greek demigod Heracles, Okoye stands at 6’6 and weighs in at slightly over 300 pounds. The man is huge and cut, showing off six pack abs where you would expect to find some flab, specially coming from a man of his size. He ran the 40 yard dash in 4.78 seconds, and he put up 30 reps of 225 lbs.
It is abundantly clear that he is a unique physical specimen, but not all athletes can adapt to the game of football. Okoye was recently quoted, talking about football, as having said, “It’s the hardest thing I have ever done.” His quote makes sense, seeing as the sport of football doesn’t just accept anyone. You have to be the best of the best at your position in order to even be considered. If Okoye can continue to work hard and find a home somewhere along the D-line, he might just make the 53 man roster. I feel like he couldn’t have gone into a better system, one where he will be taught how to be a successful football player. He is surrounded by loads of talent, along with some of the best coaches in the league that will show him how to play the game we so adamantly love. Who knows, he might just be the next star on that star studded defense. (Source of quote: NFL.com)
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