Nigerian LB Kenneth Odumegwu is the Packers’ first International Player Pathway participant
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Packers will not be playing any international games this year, however they will have international flavor on the roster.
For the first time, Green Bay is participating in the league’s International Play Pathway program.
Kenneth Odumegwu, from Nigeria, has not played a snap of an organized football, yet he now finds himself surrounded by the most elite in the sport.
“To be honest, football is a very new sport to me,” he said. “I’ve seen it in the media. I don’t know - last year by this time, I did not know what line of scrimmage was. I did not know that.”
So how did he get here?
Well, he played soccer as a kid, but grew out of it, literally. He became too tall, too big, and switched to basketball
At 6 foot 6, 259 pounds, he got some attention. Odumegwu was scouted for 1 of 38 spots at the NFL International Combine in London last October. He’s been training and doing camps since.
“They called me, I went to the tryouts. They were like, we feel you can do this,” Odumegwu said. “Something in my heart just felt like this was very possible.”
Now he’s here in Green Bay, with one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, 63 hundred miles from his home of Anambra, Nigeria.
“I was literally shaking but I had people around so I was just trying to play in cool. But in my mind I was like oh God.”
Odumegwu spent the weekend at rookie camp with the linebackers, taking everything in.
“Thanks to the coaches, they’ve been putting me through. They understand I’m new to this game. They try to break things down for me,” he said.
“He’s a ball of clay. We got to mold him,” Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. “He’s an impressive looking guy. He definitely has the size. He seems pretty intelligent, pretty eager. There’s going to be a lot of work in front of him. But it is a cool thing.”
Odumegwu has already mentioned how excited he is to be alongside fellow Nigerian, JJ Enagbare in Green Bay.
“I want to be a part of the pioneers of American football in Nigeria. I would like to grow this game more in Nigeria.”
Odumegwu will be with the Packers at least through the end of training camp, and then the team can decide to keep him on the practice squad with an extra, exempt international spot.
“I will do everything I can to make the team, make them proud of me. I’ll work myself out, I’ll do anything they ask of me. I promise to be great.”
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