Los Angeles Chargers defensive lineman CJ Okoye recorded a sack in Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Rams, which normally in itself does not warrant a story, but this was far more momentous than just getting to the quarterback. Saturday marked Okoye's first ever organized football game. Yes, not just NFL game, first organized football game.
He sacked Rams quarterback Stetson Bennett and his teammates went wild on the sideline.
CJ Okoye had never played in an organized football game until last night.— NFL (@NFL) August 13, 2023
The Nigerian native attended the @NFLAfrica Camp last year & was signed by the @chargers through the International Player Pathway program.
He got his first sack in his first game EVER. 💙 @Cj_dlion12 pic.twitter.com/SJO5oo8y1U
"It's a historic performance," Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said. "This guy, as you guys know, his story is remarkable. The International Pathway Program, this guy's never played in a game. For him to go in his first NFL game to have a sack, our guys said if he gets a sack we were going to get a 15-yard [celebration penalty]. You saw that sideline, that's what the NFL's about, great stories like that. Game ball for CJ and a memorable moment for our whole team."
The Chargers defeated the Rams 34-17.
His spot on the 53-man roster is far from guaranteed, but it was a moment Okoye and his teammates will not forget. If he does not make the roster, there is always a chance he could make the practice squad.
Roy Mbaeteka (Chicago Bears), Chukwuebuka Jason Godrick (Kansas City Chiefs), Kenneth Odumegwu (Green Bay Packers), David Ebuka Agoha (Las Vegas Raiders), and Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi (Denver Broncos) are the other Nigerian athletes in the International Player Pathway program.