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British discus record holder draws interest as NFL defensive end

By Larry Hartstein | Senior Analyst

Lawrence Okoye plans to work out at the Super Combine in Dallas next weekend. (USATSI)

Lawrence Okoye, the British discus record holder, has the size (6-6, 248) and strength NFL teams love. He's just 21.

They probably don't mind his cockiness either.

Okoye has never played football, but says five NFL teams expressed interest after he spontaneously decided to participate in last week's regional combine in Atlanta.

"At the combine, I really stood out because of my size, strength and speed," Okoye told the Daily Mail. "I don't want to sound arrogant, but I was good on the day -- to the point that a lot of NFL clubs began talking to me immediately on the back of it. They all see me as a defensive end, which suits me just fine.”

Okoye told the paper he had come to the U.S. to train for the discus in warm weather, then heard about the combine. Friends had been telling him for years he should try American football.

“With the college drafts not taking place until the end of April, I won't be officially signing anything or becoming a pro footballer until then, but I have no reason to believe that it's not going to happen," he said.

Okoye, who finished a disappointing 12th in the Olympic discus finals last summer, said he plans to return to discus "when my [hoped-for] football career ends.”

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