Former star Olympian in Great Britain starts from scratch in NFL

Dolphins Defensive Tackle Lawrence Okoye

A former star athlete in Great Britain is just barely scraping along in the United States.

Laurence Okoye gave up greatness, to start from scratch, and ow the Dolphins are the latest NFL team to see if he can be great for them.

In Great Britain, Okoye was one of the country's bright young rugby stars. He was also one of the world's best discus throwers, climbing all the way to fifth in the world and throwing in the 2012 London Olympics.

He also was a young man, with an offer to study law at the University of Oxford, one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

But he traded in all that four years ago. Okoye came stateside, to play football.

"It was borne out of watching the game," said Okoye Thursday. "And seeing amazing plays, and saying, 'I could do that too'."

Okoye has been on the practice squad of five different teams, before signing with the Dolphins this offseason. He has yet to play in an NFL game.

"It's been a huge learning curve. It's a shame I haven't been able to display it in a competitive game, but hopefully going forward that will change."

Okoye had the offer again this year to go to Oxford, but despite four failed years in the NFL he turned it down.

"Most kids have dreams of playing pro sports. Passing it up wasn't an option."

Now he is turning heads during OTAs- giving hope he shows the greatness he showed in his home country in Miami.

"For him to pick up what he's learned in a short period of time, that's impressive to me," says Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. "You're changing sports, a lot of guys have been playing 7-8 years. But he's been impressive."

"I'm as good as I've been, obviously," adds Okoye. "It will take care of itself. Eyes will be opened."

Okoye is trying to make the team as a defensive tackle. The Fins wrapped up voluntary OTAs Thursday and will have three mandatory minicamp practices next week.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off