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Olympian Okoye calls 49ers’ OTAs “hardest thing I’ve ever done”

Lawrence Okoye AP

Lawrence Okoye, the British Olympic discus thrower who decided to try American football and signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent, admits he didn’t know what he was getting himself into.

Okoye told England’s Shortlist magazine that the 49ers’ Organized Team Activities showed him just how tough American football is.

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Okoye said.

The 21-year-old Okoye is a great all-around athlete. In addition to reaching the Olympics in the discus, he has run 100 meters in less than 11 seconds, ridiculously fast for a man who weighs more than 300 pounds. And Shortlist reported that “He once scored a try at Twickenham,” whatever that means. But he says the training for the NFL is challenging him in a way he hadn’t been challenged before.

“The two things are worlds apart,” he said. “But there is crossover in terms of the work I do in the weights room where – for the past couple of years in particular – the objective has been to build size, strength and, most importantly, explosive power. Right now, my training time is spent between specific position drills, conditioning and weight training. It’s different each day, but the circuit stuff designed to improve my anaerobic fitness is the real killer.”

We’ll see in the next couple months if all that hard work will result in Okoye remaining a 49er, at least as a member of the practice squad, when the season starts.

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29 Responses to “Olympian Okoye calls 49ers’ OTAs “hardest thing I’ve ever done””
  1. classyjacklambert says: Jun 27, 2013 7:45 AM

    I hope the little guy makes it.

  2. greglloydrules says: Jun 27, 2013 7:58 AM

    100m in less than 11 sec for a 300lbs dude? Insane. But can he hit? He’s not afraid of contact is he? Cause I’ve seen that before.

  3. hounds2013 says: Jun 27, 2013 8:12 AM

    A “try at Twickenham” has to be rugby.

  4. touchdownroddywhite says: Jun 27, 2013 8:16 AM

    I never would’ve put him at 300 based on the picture.

  5. ColtsWinColtsWin!! says: Jun 27, 2013 8:19 AM

    49ers OTA’s are hard? Pleaaaaaaaaaassssssseeee!
    If he wants to know what hard OTA’s are he should try Colts OTA’s, after all, they are the best franchise in the NFL!

  6. greenmeattruck says: Jun 27, 2013 8:19 AM

    Not sayin’ the guy won’t make it, but he can have all the athletic ability in the world and if he ain’t got the heart of a football player, he won’t make it in the yesterday’s Pro Football. However, he could make it in the modern day “Godell” style of football- don’t hit anyone hard, don’t hurt anybody intentionally or otherwise, etc…

  7. britishraven says: Jun 27, 2013 8:23 AM

    Scoring a try at Twickenham is akin to scoring a goal at Wembley although as the US doesn’t have national stadia I’m not sure what the equivalent would be – maybe hitting a home run at Wrigley Field or the old Yankees Stadium?

    Having said that, I don’t think he’s ever played professional rugby so it’s really not a significant achievement. He probably played as a school kid at half time in an international match 15 years ago or something

  8. abusementland says: Jun 27, 2013 8:41 AM

    referring to the “Hardest thing ever done” comment

  9. mike5011ad says: Jun 27, 2013 9:01 AM

    A try is the rugby equivalent to a touchdown. That’s where we actually get the word touchdown from. In rugby you have to physically touch the ball down to the ground for the try to count. Just crossing the goal line isn’t enough. If you lose control of the ball before you touch it down, then the try doesn’t count.

  10. stealthscorpio says: Jun 27, 2013 9:01 AM

    Try=TD in Rugby

  11. 3beeps says: Jun 27, 2013 9:01 AM

    So what does Frisco Harbaugh see him as ??

    A DT ? an OT ?? If he has to run 100 meters in a game the 9ers are in trouble, no matter how fast he is.

    Maybe he can be part of their half-time festivities tossing a Frisbee around.

  12. supremekingz says: Jun 27, 2013 9:03 AM

    He’s got to play defense, but it sure would be nice to see him line up as tight end, and run a go route!

  13. anhdazman says: Jun 27, 2013 9:05 AM

    Come on you freaking limey! This isn’t soccer, this is a real Man’s game! The real Football!

  14. floratiotime says: Jun 27, 2013 9:09 AM

    If he makes the team he’ll have to put up with Harbaugh’s tantrums. Then the workouts will be the second hardest thing he’s ever done.

  15. raiderlyfe510 says: Jun 27, 2013 9:10 AM

    Wait til the pad comes on. It gets a lot deeper. Just be happy you don’t have to go through Singletary’s Oklahoma drills and his camp. That Pit Drill and his camp would bring the Glen Coffee out of you and question your desire to play football. Made that squad a lot tougher and more physical though. Singletary challenged players to their core. My Raiders need a Singletary, actually.

  16. vienners says: Jun 27, 2013 9:27 AM

    touchdownroddywhite says:
    Jun 27, 2013 8:16 AM

    I never would’ve put him at 300 based on the picture.
    —————–
    All muscle, no fat. Thats what scary about this guy’s potential.

    But it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t understand the game!!

  17. tsuscrumhalf says: Jun 27, 2013 9:37 AM

    Twickenham is the home of England’s national rugby team. 80k+ seats. For a Brit, that’s a place of honor. I could see it as hitting a HR at Fenway, Yankee Stadium, Wrigley / scoring a TD in Lambeau or Soldier. Pretty cool stuff.

    Wouldn’t shock me if he had some type of “injury” that would warrant a year on IR to let him learn the game. He’s a physical freak. If he played rugby, he’s accustomed to hitting. He just has to learn the game & scheme. As deep as SF is, not sure they have a roster spot. Maybe practice squad? Maybe IR? I’m gonna root for the kid.

  18. abninf says: Jun 27, 2013 9:41 AM

    Sniff, sniff. He’s lucky he’s not a member of the Dallas Cowboys for this coming training camp. Coach Garrett will push his players to limits not seen in NFL history. It’s all part of the plan devised by Mr. Jones to go on another Superbowl run. CBS has Dallas rated #2 in the league which is probably correct to anyone who knows the game. They possibly could be considered #1.

  19. mattmchoes says: Jun 27, 2013 9:56 AM

    britishraven says: Jun 27, 2013 8:23 AM

    Scoring a try at Twickenham is akin to scoring a goal at Wembley although as the US doesn’t have national stadia I’m not sure what the equivalent would be – maybe hitting a home run at Wrigley Field or the old Yankees Stadium?

    Having said that, I don’t think he’s ever played professional rugby so it’s really not a significant achievement. He probably played as a school kid at half time in an international match 15 years ago or something

    ————————————————

    So he was playing rugby at Twickenham when he was 6 years old in an international match?
    The kid is only 21 years old.
    21-15=6

  20. Aiden Swain says: Jun 27, 2013 11:04 AM

    I don’t understand this. Just being a great athlete doesn’t mean you’ll be good at football or any other sport. If he doesn’t have the skills, the instincts, and the heart, he’s just wasting his time.

  21. schmitty2 says: Jun 27, 2013 11:07 AM

    That guy is 21?? He looks like a 50 y/o cab driver.

  22. tomrichards8464 says: Jun 27, 2013 12:08 PM

    The rugby match was the final of the Daily Mail Schools Cup (under 18s) in 2010. So that’s about the biggest school match it’s possible to play in. He was also in the youth teams at a couple of professional clubs. I think it’s fair to say that he played youth rugby at a very high level.

  23. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 27, 2013 1:36 PM

    The other teams are waiting for the 49ers to teach him how to play football, then they scoop him off the practice team. Saves a lot of time and effort. Plus they don’t have to feed the guy for those first few months.

  24. gerard33 says: Jun 27, 2013 1:45 PM

    “Twickenham” has got to be the most British word in the whole language haha

  25. ninerfan81 says: Jun 27, 2013 1:46 PM

    I’m not sure if people can really grasp what it means to run a sub 11s 100 meter dash at that weight…that is absolutely breathtaking. He’s easily one of the best athletes on the roster right now…21 years old too, ridiculous.

  26. braceyourselffor12 says: Jun 27, 2013 1:59 PM

    Of all the players the Niners could have aquired in the offseason this was the one guy I had my fringers crossed on. He is a physical freak of nature. I keep hearing a lot of the same arguments:

    “He may not have the heart to play at a full level.”
    He turned down an admission to Oxford Law School to pursue his dream of making it in the NFL.

    “He doesn’t have the skill set.”
    He also never picked up a discus but within 3 years was representing England in the OLYMPICS.

    “He won’t be able to adapt to the NFL.”
    Well good thjng he has defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, who previously worked with inexperienced players in NFL Europe.

    Anyways I am looking forward to see what thiz talented and driven athlete can do.

    GO NINERS!!!!!

  27. pop562 says: Jun 27, 2013 2:13 PM

    Even if this kid goes on the practice squad which team in the NFL have the luxury to sign him. In addition just because he’s in the practice squad doesn’t mean he will go to the other team. He can chose to stay with the niners the whole season and keep learning from a great D line coach in tomsula.

  28. seaeagle707 says: Jun 27, 2013 5:13 PM

    Well sure. Having to spend your days under the broiling California sun, inhaling the smell of fish rotting in the Bay, and worst of all, having to listen to Jim Hairbugs screeching at the top of his lungs, would all contribute to it being “hard” in the Whiners KoolAidKamp.

  29. Jeff Ng says: Jun 27, 2013 8:25 PM

    scoring a try is the rugby equivalent of touchdown, however, points result from a try depends on which code of rugby football one’s playing as there is rugby union, and rugby league. Rugby union try worth 5 points while Rugby league try worth 4 points.

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