For Packers’ Nigerian rookie Kenneth Odumegwu, football is “a very new sport to me”

USA Today

Former NFL player Osi Umenyiora’s efforts to expand opportunities for African players in the NFL had an important achievement last week with the announcement that six Nigerian players will get roster spots this year as part of the NFL’s International Pathway Program. One of those players admits he has a long way to go before he understands the sport of American football.

Packers defensive lineman Kenneth Odumegwu was by far the least experienced player at the team’s rookie minicamp, and he said afterward that he’s still trying to figure the game out.

“I’m still yet to play an organized game of football, to be honest,” Odumegwu said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “To be honest, football is a brand-new sport to me . . . I’ve seen it on the media. Like last year, I didn’t know like what was a line of scrimmage. I didn’t know none of that. So, to be honest, we don’t know about American football in Nigeria, so it’s a very new sport to me.”

Umenyiora’s program spotted Odumegwu playing basketball and thought he might have NFL talent, and it was Umenyiora himself who decided Odumegwu would be a defensive lineman when Odumegwu showed up to the football camp for African players that Umenyiora hosted in Ghana. Once Odumegwu was told that he would be a Packer, he started learning who the Packers were, and now he’s excited to be a part of the organization.

“The moment I got allocated to this team, the Green Bay Packers,” Odumegwu said, “I started learning more about the team and I’m proud to be part of the team who has the most championships in the history of NFL.”

11 responses to “For Packers’ Nigerian rookie Kenneth Odumegwu, football is “a very new sport to me”

  1. Oh the days of Christian “Nigerian Nightmare” Okoye – loved watching him run over defenders years ago!

  2. Lol I’m ashamed right now…… Was I the ONLY person that read “The moment I got allocated to this team, the Green Bay Packers” in Eddie Murthy’s Voice from COMING TO AMERICA??? Lol Smdh

  3. It’s always refreshing when a guy is anxious to learn rather than sure he already knows it all. Sounds like a good practice squad candidate.

  4. I’ve been following Osi and his work through the NFL UK as well as his podcast with Jason Bell. The idea here for those that don’t realise, is to find more African talent to bring through to the NFL. They have the athletes and the raw tools. They are then coached up and offered to teams through the International Pathway. That’s how Efe Obada (our London boy) got his start. So too did Menelik Watson although he flamed out through injuries. Jack Crawford moved to the US as a child, and played from high school, so he doesn’t count. I think Osi’s on a scouting trip to Kenya at the moment, and I can’t wait to hear what he found…

  5. Jordan Mailata had his first start ever in a game on MNF. He was an elite rugby prospect who knew basically nothing about football. Sometimes these guys make it.

  6. The Packers will not only get a roster exemption throughout training camp for Kenneth, but they’ll also get an additional practice squad spot for him too once the season starts.

    There are several stories about this kid’s fish out of water experience that make for an interesting read.
    It’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

    To say he’s got a long way to go is an understatement, but he’s got a kindred spirit on the roster in 2nd year LB, Kingsley Enagbare, who has Nigerian roots in his family tree.
    Obviously we’re all pulling for this kid and who knows maybe we’ll see him playing a few years down the line.

  7. We just might be able to get a 3rd rounder from the Jets for this guy.

  8. Why not start a program to find players in Asia? Or even Native American reservations?

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