American Football: Lawrence Okoye ready for challenge with San Francisco 49ers
Sunday 28 April 2013
Olympic discus finalist Lawrence Okoye admits he faces a baptism of fire after signing for the San Francisco 49ers despite having never played a single game of American football.
The 21-year-old, who was 12th in his event at London 2012, was not selected on the final day of the NFL draft but signed with the 49ers, who lost to the Baltimore Ravens in February's Super Bowl, as an undrafted free agent.
Okoye has only once put on a helmet and full pads but has made an unspecified "long-term commitment" to the 49ers, whose coach Jim Harbaugh told the San Francisco Gate: "He's just an Adonis. Just a great physical specimen of a man."
Okoye said: "It's amazing for me, I'm absolutely delighted how things have worked out. The 49ers are the best fit in the league for what I am trying to do. This could be a great success story.
"I watched the Super Bowl and it was amazing to see them come back from such a terrible start and be one play away from winning. I want to be part of the organisation's future success and I think they are building a team that can rival any in the NFC and NFL."
Okoye joins Manchester-born Menelik Watson on the US west coast after Oakland Raiders chose him in round two of the draft, while Crawley-born linebacker Tom Wort joined the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent.
Latest in Sport
- 1 Michelle Watt's father says TV presenter killed herself because she was in constant pain
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...