NFL: Lawrence Okoye starts training with the San Francisco 49ers
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 22/05/13 12:11pm
Lawrence Okoye is making a good first impression on his San Francisco 49ers coaches and team-mates, as he looks to break his way into the NFL.
Many raised eyebrows when the British Olympic discus thrower announced his intention to try and make the switch to NFL despite having never played the game before, but it is looking increasingly likely that he has a real chance.
His physical talents are a major reason, with Okoye having huge size and strength but also a quickness that has blown coaches away.
Coupled with an intellect that could help him pick up the game quicker than most, then you have what could be a remarkable story - and the 49ers what that story to play out with them.
"It's something I've wanted to do, I've decided I'm going to be brave and do it - it's the first step of many, and I believe in this organisation I've got the best chance of success," Okoye said as he met the media after starting training with his new team.
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- January 1, 1970 1:00am
Okoye says his coaches have been drip-feeding him the information he needs to get by so it does not become overwhelming, and although it will be a long hard road to success he is determined to make it work.
"It's very technical, there's a lot of prep we have to do in the classroom before we get out on the pitch, or the field as you guys call it!
"I'm just trying to learn as much as possible and quickly as possible - they've been great with me, they're not trying to force feed me, they're giving me little snippets I need for today and tomorrow little snippets I need for then."
Coach Jim Harbaugh remains excited about the prospect of moulding such a physical specimen into an NFL defensive lineman - which is why they took the 21-year-old as an undrafted free agent.
"Everybody is starting with their first steps," said Harbaugh. "He's right in there, defensive line/special teams right now. All of us have got a long tough road ahead.
"I'm excited, I know our coaches are, about the challenge for us as coaches and the challenge for him, but we all want him to be successful, and we'll do everything in our power to help him do that."
Safety Eric Reid could not hide his surprise as Okoye's obvious attribute, adding: He's huge! He's a big guy, and if he can learn the game I think he'll be pretty good."