Popular Players of Nigeria Origin in the America National Football League NFL
Jarod Kintz once quoted that “The year you were born marks only your entry into the world. Other years where you prove your worth, they are the ones worth celebrating.”
Therefore, courage to me is doing something daring, no matter how afraid, insecure, intimidated, alone, unworthy, incapable, ridiculed or whatever other paralyzing emotion you might feel. Courage is taking action...no matter what. So you're afraid? Be afraid. Be scared silly to the point you're trembling and nauseous, but do it anyway.
We have decided to introduce something new, interesting and educating; a special periodic focus which is aimed at celebrating the achievements and exploits of numerous under celebrated Nigerian youth in the Diasporas cutting across divers facets of human endeavours. Looking away from the negative image that we have been tagged with as Nigerians but celebrating only our own since if we don’t beat our drums ourselves nobody will do it for us.
In this edition our focus is on the Football. Here’s a brief profile of successful Nigerian Players in the American National Football League of Nigerian origins; as presented below:
Amobi Okoye is a 28 years Nigerian football player born in Anambra State, Nigeria who is currently a free agent and plays as a defensive tackle.
His journey into football started when he moved to the United States at age 12, and played as a sophomore at Lee High School. And as a senior, he won first team All state honours as both a defensive lineman and offensive lineman.
At 19, he was drafted by the Houston Texans tenth overall in the 2007 NFL Draft where he signed a 5 years deal; Becoming the youngest player to ever be drafted in the first round of NFL Draft. He’s the highest draft pick to come out of the University of Louisville since the AFL-NFL merger.
Okoye signed with the Chicago Bears in 2011, Tampa Bay Buccaneers in, 2012. He returned to the Bears on August 31, 2012, signed a one-year contract. He was waived on November 27, 2012, but was eventually brought back on December 12.
He was off the scene for the 2013 NFL Season because he was diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis and had been placed in a medically induced coma to stabilize recurring seizures.
Okoye was cleared by doctors to play again, becoming the first football player to attempt to come back from the disease. He was later by Dallas Cowboy in 2014 and was released last year April.
Oluseyi Ajirotutu is an American Football player who was born June 12 1987 to Nigerian parents who hailed from the South West, Nigeria. He currently plays as a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL).
Seyi’s journey into Football started as a junior who got selected to the First- Team All-League as a defensive back for the Oak Ridge High School, California. His performance was very impressive; he became the Most Valuable Player leading Oak Ridge to the Sac-Joaquin section Division 2 championship. He was a two-year varsity letter winner and was selected to both the Cal-Hi Sports second-team all-state and the first-team All-NorCal.
Ajirotutu started his career professionally in 2010 for San Diego Chargers after he was signed as an undrafted free agent. He moved on to Carolina Panthers as they claimed him off waivers after he was waived off by San Diego Chargers.
He was signed again by the San Diego Chargers in 2012 -2014 and was on injured reserve for 2012 season. In 2014 he was voted by his team mates as ‘Special Team Player of the Year’.
Nnamdi Asomugba is a former American football cornerback born to Nigerian Igbo parents. He was raise in Los Angeles. He played college football for the University of California, Berkeley, and was drafted in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He also played for the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.Asomugha was the second Cal player to be drafted in the first round (31st overall) of the 2003 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders. Following the 2009 season, Asomugha was selected as a starter for the 2010 Pro Bowl. This would mark his third selection to both the Pro and All-Pro team in his seven-year career with the Oakland Raiders.
In 2010, Asomugha was selected as a member of the Fox Sports’ and USA Today’s NFL All-
In 2011, Asomugha agreed to a five-year, $60 million deal, and at least $25 million guaranteed, contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was asked to play all 5 positions in the secondary. He finished the season with 35 tackles and 3 interceptions. Asomugha was named a 2012 Pro Bowl alternate.
In 2013, Asomugha signed a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers under which he would earn a base salary of $1.35 million and with a chance to earn up to an additional $1.65 million in incentives. On November 4, 2013, Asomugha was waived by the team. And he retired from in December, 2013 he signed a one-day contract to be part of the Oakland Raiders so he could officially retire as a Raider. He officially announced his retirement on December 27, 2013.
Off the field, education and community service are his focuses. Asomugha serves as Chairman for the Asomugha Foundation with two primary programmes; Orphans and Widows In Needs (OWIN).
Franklin Nonyelu Okam is an American Football defensive tackle, who was born to parents of Nigerian descent in October 1985. He is currently a free agent.At Lake Highlands High School, Dallas Taxas Okam was involve in football, basketball and other track and field events amongst other sports, he became the second ranked defensive tackle in the nation, Okam received scholarship offers from Florida, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Stanford among other universities. He played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the Oil Bowl in which he got Defensive MVP following his senior season.
Okam who was on scholarship at the University of Taxas, Austin played Defensive Tackle for the Taxas Longhorns Football team from 2004-2007, where he contributed immensely as a true freshman earning first team freshman All American honours from Sporting News.
After a stellar senior season, Okam finished his career at the University of Texas with 160 total tackles, 81 solo tackles with 28 tackles for a loss. Okam was drafted by the Houston Texans in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, he played Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent and New York Giants.
Israel idonije is a 35 Nigerian Canadian retired defensive end National Football League (NFL) player who was born in Lagos Nigeria and immigrated with his family at age 4 to Canada.
He played CIS Football for the Manitoba Bisons, he also played in East-West Shrine Game, and was drafted 17th overall by the Ottawa Renegades in 2003 CFL Draft. At Manitoba from 2000–2002, Idonije recorded 16 sacks which stands fourth all-time in Bison history. He helped lead the Bison to the 2001 Vanier Cup where Manitoba was defeated by the Saint Mary's Huskies. In 2002, Idonije was named 2002 Manitoba Male Athlete of the Year. His goal, however, was to play in the National Football League.
As a rookie in 2003, Idonije was signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent and was on Cleveland's practice squad. He was waived by the Browns midway through the season. He was obtained by the Chicago Bears as a practice squad player late in the 2003 season and made the final roster the following year. Idonije also played gunner on the punt coverage team.
In 2006, he became a restricted free agent, during the 2007 NFL Season he had three consecutive games with a blocked field goal or extra point. Also in 2008 he set career highs in sacks (3.5), tackles (22), and passes defended (6). In May 2009, signed a two-year, $7 million contract extension with the Bears.
Idonije who also played for the Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions and New York Giants, is a philanthropist and a businessman. He inducted into the Order of Manitoba by the Manitoba Lieutenant-Governor Philip S. Lee in 2014.
Ositadinma Umenyiora born to Nigerian Igbo parents is an English-American former defensive end who played in the National Football League. He played college football foe Troy University and was drafted by the New York Giants I n the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft.
Umenyiora was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and holds the Giants franchise record for most sacks in one game. He is one of three British-born players to have won a Super Bowl, joining Scott McCready and former Giants teammate Lawrence Tynes.While with the New York Giants, Umenyiora established himself as a premier pass rusher in 2005, his first year as a starter. His stellar play earned All-Pro recognition and a trip to the Pro Bowl. He achieved 14.5 sacks and 70 tackles, second only to the sixteen sacks obtained by Derrick Burgess of the Oakland Raiders.
On November 5, 2010, Osi Umenyiora was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month after recording 18 tackles (10 solo), 7.0 sacks, and six forced fumbles in the Giants' four October wins.
Umenyiora signed a two-year deal worth $8.55 million with the Atlanta Falcons on March 27, 2013. And he retired in August, 2015 as a New York Giant after signing a one-day deal.
Cedric Ogbuehi is an American football offensive tackle born to parents of Nigerian origin. He plays for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League.
At Allen High School, where Ogbuehi found his love for football, as a senior, Ogbuehi helped lead the way for an averaged over 466 yards per game, allowing just one sack. He was an Associated Press second term all state pick and unanimous first team all district honoree. He played in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.Ogbuehi was redshirted in 2010. As a freshman in 2011 he started six of 10 games at guard. As a sophomore in 2012, he started all 13 games at guard. As a junior in 2013, he was moved to offensive tackle. And as a senior in 2014, he received first team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation.
In May 2014, Ogbuehi was projected a high first-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft by various mock drafts despite tearing his ACL in his final college football game, he was selected 21st in the 2015 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, where he currently plays.
Robert Nkemdiche is an American football defensive end born in 1994 to parents of Nigeria origin. He attended Grayson High School, where he was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and track. He played as a defensive end and running back for the Grayson Rams high school football team.He was a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award and was named All-SEC first team by Associated Press (AP), as well as All-America second team by AP, Sporting News, USA Today and CBS Sports.
On December 12, 2015, Nkemdiche fell from a fourth-floor window of the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead. He was conscious and in stable condition when officers reported to the scene, and was immediately transported to Grady Memorial Hospital.
After the incident which involved marijuana in December 2015, Nkemdiche was suspended for the 2016 Sugar Bowl. He announced his intention to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
CHINEDUM NDUKWEChinedum Ndukwe is a former American football safety. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft. After graduating from Dublin Coffman High School, Ndukwe went on to start as safety for the University of Notre Dame for his junior and senior seasons. He played in 46 games with 25 starts and made 157 tackles.
Ndukwe was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round (253rd overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. He made an immediate impact by playing in 14 games and starting two in place of an injured Dexter Jackson at strong safety. He became a free agent after the 2010 season.
In 2010, The City of Cincinnati proclaimed February 10 "Chinedum Ndukwe Day" in recognition of the foundation's hard work and his dedication to the city. On January 30, 2012, Chinedum made his voice over debut working for NFL Films as the narrator for ESPN's Hey Rookie.
Xavier Oyekola Adibi is a former American football linebacker born to parents of Nigerian origin. He was drafted by Houston Taxans in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played college football at Virginia Tech.
He helped the Phantoms win their first state championship. Phoebus' first undefeated season came during Adibi's senior year where the Phantoms won their second consecutive state championship.
Adibi was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by Houston Texans and was claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Vikings. He also played for Chicago Bears and was released in 2012 and was signed by Tennessee Titans.
Kelechi is an American football offensive guard for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. He was born in Taxas to parents of Nigerian descents. He played college football for the Iowa State University before he was drafted in the 60th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.Entering his senior season at Iowa State in 2011, Osemele had started 30 consecutive games.
With the Ravens finishing 10-6, the team won the AFC North pennant and eventually winning Super Bowl XLVII over the San Francisco 49ers, making Osemele's rookie year successful giving him his first championship title.
On November 1, 2013, it was announced Osemele would have back surgery. After playing seven games, he would finish the rest of the 2013 season on injured reserve. Osemele successfully recovered from back surgery and started all 16 games for the Ravens in 2014.
James Ihedigbo born to Nigerian immigrants parents is an American football safety who currently plays for Detroit Lions in the National Football League. He was signed by New Yorks Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2007.Ihedigbo played at Amherst Regional High School where he was a two-time All-Western Massachusetts and All-League selection. In his redshirt junior year, he was named to the Atlantic 10 conference, and was a candidate for the Buck Buchanan Award and a Walter Camp All-American as well as a senior captain. He also received UMass team MVP for 2006.
Professionally, James signed with New York Jets and finished the season with 19 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble in 15 games. Played for the New England Patriots from where he moved to the Baltimore Ravens and on to Detroit Lions since 2014.
Ihedigbo founded the HOPE Africa Foundation in 2008 to help provide educational services for underprivileged communities in Africa. The foundation offers a wealth of assistance to these communities in the form of scholarships, mentoring, funding, and developmental projects.Ihedigbo is also involved in the Nigerian Agricultural Technical Community College, founded by his parents.
Nelson Agholor is an American football wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League who was born in Nigeria but relocated to the United States with his family. He played college football at University of South California; he was the 20th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
As a true freshman in 2012, Agholor played in all 13 games as a backup receiver. He had 19 receptions for 340 yards and two touchdowns.As a sophomore in 2013, he became a starter. Agholor started all 14 games, totaling 56 receptions, 918 yards, and 6 touchdowns as a receiver. Along with being the leading receiver, Agholor returned punts and kicks for the Trojans.
Agholor’s 4-year contract with Philadelphia Eagles worths around $9.4 million with a signing bonus of $5.1 million. And on December 13, 2015, he scored his first NFL career TD in a matchup against the Buffalo Bills. It was a 53 yard reception from QB Sam Bradford