Lawrence Okoye may be the only person who has ever been on six different NFL teams without ever having played in a competitive football game: Not at the professional level, not in college, not in high school, nowhere.
Okoye, a British discus thrower who is trying to turn into an NFL defensive lineman, has played in exhibition games, but he’s never played in a game where anyone cares who wins and who loses.
“It’s a huge learning curve,” Okoye said, “and I think my skill set has improved drastically. It’s a shame I haven’t been able to display that yet in a competitive game but hopefully going forward that will change.”
After finishing 12th in the discus in the 2012 Olympics, the 6-foot-6, 304-pound Okoye heard from NFL scouts who told him he had the perfect athletic makeup to become an NFL defensive lineman. He decided to give it a shot and signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent. But after spending two years in San Francisco without ever getting in a game, Okoye was released. Since then Okoye has spent brief times with the Cardinals, Jets, Cowboys, Bears and now the Dolphins, always without ever getting on the field for a real game.
The 25-year-old Okoye has reportedly looked good at Dolphins OTAs. Perhaps this is the year when he’ll play football for real, for the first time.