Efe Obada‘s football career is quickly taking off. And he’s quickly taken on a storybook quality.
The Panthers defensive end won the NFL defensive player of the week for his outburst against the Bengals, which happened to be his first NFL game.
He had an interception, a sack, two quarterback hurries and a pass deflection in 19 snaps. He also had a sack-strip fumble taken away when replay turned it into an incomplete pass for Andy Dalton.
It was quite a performance for the first player to emerge from the NFL’s international pathway program, which placed foreign players on practice squads to increase exposure for the league abroad. But Obada has quickly become more than a marketing gimmick.
The Nigerian-born Obada was trafficked to London along with his sister when he was young, and was survived homelessness there, making his an impressive story of perserverance.
After the game, Obada received a game ball from Panthers coach Ron Rivera (whose father is from Puerto Rico), in a scene that looked like something from a football version of Hamilton.
It’s an incredible story so far, and one that’s only beginning.